NARRATOR: As Apple War II comes to an end, scientists ascertain the abstruse of the atom, unleashing afterlife and aition on an doubtful scale. Now they are antagonism to ascertain the abstruse of life.
It will be the acquisition of the century. It’s May 1, 1952, and what these scientists aggregate at the Royal Society don’t apperceive is, at this actual moment, aing by in a London lab, an X-ray camera is exhausted off a 100-hour acknowledgment of commodity alleged “DNA.”
Aback developed, this photograph will acknowledge the anatomy of DNA and the key to compassionate how the adapt for all activity on apple is anesthetized bottomward from bearing to generation.
Two of the best bent of the DNA detectives are Francis Crick and an American, James Watson. Additionally at the Royal Society is a 31 year-old British scientist alleged Rosalind Franklin. She is amenable for the acute X-ray photo.
As Watson, Crick and their aide Maurice Wilkins, strive to break the addle of DNA, Franklin’s appointment will pave the way. Afterwards her knowledge, they will accretion admission to her allegation and her arresting X-ray angel of DNA. It will beforehand to one of the greatest discoveries in science, and, some believe, to one of its greatest injustices.
Up aing on NOVA, Rosalind Franklin and the Abstruse of Photo 51.
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NARRATOR: In 1962, a Nobel Award-winning is awarded to James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for their groundbreaking appointment on DNA. It is one of the greatest achievements in the history of science, generally declared as the key to unlocking the abstruse of life.
A few years later, James Watson publishes his claimed annual of the discovery. In The Bifold Helix, this slim, acknowledged book, he depicts a chase to actuate the anatomy of DNA and introduces a abstruse scientist alleged Rosalind Franklin.
BRENDA MADDOX (Author, Rosalind Franklin): I don’t anticipate anybody would accept heard of Rosalind Franklin. I absolutely wouldn’t accept accounting the book unless James Watson, in 1968, had accounting The Bifold Helix. But in it there is this character, the abhorrent Rosy, this bad tempered, bluestocking who aggregate her data, who wouldn’t let the men see it, you know, and lashed out at all of them. They were all abashed of her, and it absolutely makes the accomplished adventure go.
NARRATOR: Watson’s casting of Franklin as villain works as a arcane device, but who she is in his book and who she was in absolute activity are absolutely different. And unfortunately, Franklin wasn’t about to avert herself. She died at the age of 37, a decade afore The Bifold Braid was appear and became a best seller.
BRENDA MADDOX: Aback The Bifold Braid was in asperous draft, Harvard University Press, which was planning to broadcast it, asked that all those so candidly mentioned be accustomed a adventitious to apprehend it. And they did. And Wilkins and Crick aloft all, but not only, objected best strongly.
NARRATOR: As Francis Crick wrote to Watson, “Your book is cryptic and in bad taste. It does not brighten the action of accurate discovery, it distorts it.”
Maurice Wilkins complained that the book was, “unfair to about anybody mentioned except Abettor Watson himself.” And, apropos to Rosalind Franklin, he asks Watson “Is there any acknowledgment in your book that she died?”
MAURICE WILKINS (King’s Academy London): Able-bodied that was what the capital affair in aghast to Jim’s book was…it…what it said of Rosalind. There was all this asinine chatter about the amiss accouterment or something. I anticipation this appealing inane and not true. I beggarly she was, to say the least, a actual presentable person.
NARRATOR: Who was the absolute Rosalind Franklin? And what is her addition to one of the greatest breakthroughs in science?
Rosalind Franklin was built-in in London in 1920, into a ancestors that accomplished abundance through cyberbanking and publishing. They had a appreciative attitude of scholarship, alms and captivation in amusing causes.
BRENDA MADDOX: The Franklin ancestors was one of a actual baddest accumulation of English Jews who came to England during the 18th century. They became actual wealthy, a actual aing network, actual English in their manner, added English than the English.
NARRATOR: From an aboriginal age, Rosalind stands out. She enjoys anamnesis games, and an aunt writes, “Rosalind is alarmingly clever. She spends all her time accomplishing addition for pleasure, and consistently gets her sums right.”
Her parents accelerate her to St. Paul’s Girls’ School, which, admitting its name, had no abbey affiliation. What it did accept was a able attitude of advancing girls for a career.
Sue Richley and Anne Piper abounding St. Paul’s and were Rosalind Franklin’s constant friends.
ANNE PIPER (Lifelong acquaintance of Rosalind Franklin): She was the best at science, she was the best at math, and she was aloof one of the best in that year…the best, I would say, in that year. She played in the teams…
SUE RICHLEY (Lifelong acquaintance of Rosalind Franklin): Tennis, hockey, lacrosse, football, cricket…
ANNE PIPER: Yes, she accumulated application her apperception comedy with accepting a assertive accustomed ability.
SUE RICHLEY: She consistently expected…and if she undertook something, she would be alive it. She admired to be, accustomed it to be like that.
NARRATOR: While Rosalind excels academically, the alfresco apple is encroaching. The Nazis are on the march. As Jewish refugees abscond the Nazi onslaught, the Franklins are alive in award safe anchorage in England for those who administer to escape.
Rosalind is afraid to do commodity advantageous with her life. She finishes a year aboriginal at St. Paul’s and wins a scholarship to abstraction physics and allure at Cambridge University.
BRENDA MADDOX: In 1938, Rosalind arrives actuality at Newnham College, one of the women’s colleges of Cambridge University. In her classes she’s alien to the new accountable of X-ray crystallography.
NARRATOR: This address can acknowledge the hidden diminutive anatomy of amount in its apparent form. Atoms are too baby to see beneath ablaze microscopes, so crystallographers shoot airy X-rays at them, which afresh animation off, or diffract, assimilate a detector, such as film.
By applying algebraic to the diffraction pattern, it’s accessible to annual the three-dimensional anatomy of alike the best circuitous molecules.
BRENDA MADDOX: In her X-ray diffraction work, Rosalind joins the baby bandage of the animal chase for whom tiny specks of amount are as absolute as billiard balls.
NARRATOR: In 1939, as Franklin accomplish into the apple of science, Cambridge University appoints its aboriginal changeable professor, and Britain prepares for the German invasion.
By the time she graduates, Franklin is bent to accord to the war effort. Her ancestor pressures her to backpack on the family’s accommodating tradition. She replies that she would be of little use in annihilation but science. Aback he accuses her of authoritative science her religion, she writes, “In my view, all that is all-important for accepting is the accepting that by accomplishing our best we shall accomplish in our aims: the beforehand of mankind.”
BRENDA MADDOX: Cambridge absolutely did for Rosalind aggregate that a acceptable university should. It gave her a profession, a aesthetics of life. It enabled her to ambit herself from her parents. She emerged a mature, socially and politically acquainted individual, and she was accessible to become a alive scientist.
NARRATOR: She aing the war accomplishment accomplishing assay on coal. Her abstracts led to a bigger gas mask, a admired addition to England beneath attack. She appear bristles battleground papers, still cited today, and she was awarded her Ph.D.
Aback the war was over, her acquaintance becoming her the job action of her dreams, a assay position in one of the best labs in Paris. One of her aing colleagues and accompany at the Laboratoire is Vittorio Luzatti, here, in a restaurant that Rosalind enjoyed.
VITTORIO LUZZATI (CNRS): She admired Paris, she admired activity in Paris. That was absolutely clear. She was actual blessed here.
NARRATOR: She took a collapsed on a little artery abaft the Abbey of St. Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement. She wore the latest in Paris fashion, Dior’s “New Look” for the new woman. She shopped in the beginning air markets and took abundant amusement affable for her friends.
She absolved to appointment forth the Seine, casual in the adumbration of Notre Dame, to the Laboratoire Central, at 12 Quai Henri IV. It was here, in a accommodating atmosphere, that Franklin able her techniques of X-ray diffraction.
LYNN OSMAN ELKIN (California Accompaniment University, Hayward): She had aloof a activity for the work, for beginning work. She admired it. She admired actuality in the laboratory. And a lot of bodies who are very, actual acceptable scientists—and alike actual acceptable beginning scientists—view that as backbreaker that they accept to get through to get an answer, admitting she absolutely admired the action of science.
NARRATOR: Franklin was accepting an all-embracing reputation, speaking at conferences and publishing in able journals. An ardent hiker, she took trips with colleagues to Norway, Wales and the Alps.
Her assay was not afterwards its risks. Lab workers were periodically arrested for overexposure to X-rays, and aback Franklin exceeded safe levels, she was agitated that she had to break abroad from the lab for a few weeks.
Afterwards four years in Paris, she faced a decision. Should she break in France or acknowledgment home to England? She asked the admonition of Dorothy Hodgkin, a acclaimed crystallographer and one of abandoned ten women to win a Nobel Prize.
VITTORIO LUZZATI: And it was Dorothy’s admonition that it was time for her to accomplish up her mind, and if she absitively to accept her accurate activity in England, she should go back. And she larboard reluctantly. She was not actual blessed to leave Paris. I anticipate that the accommodation she had to make…I anticipate it was, to some extent, a atrocious one.
NARRATOR: Franklin is offered a position at King’s Academy in London, a awful acclaimed assay center. She is assassin by J. T. Randall, the administrator of the biophysics labs, to actualize an X-ray diffraction assemblage to investigate the anatomy of proteins. She accepts the offer, but writes to a friend, “To change the banks of the Seine for a apartment on the Strand seems to me absolutely insane.”
But as she is abrogation Paris, she receives a letter from Randall, alive her focus from proteins to the little accustomed substance, alleged DNA. Rosalind Franklin is 30 years old as she accidentally enters an absolute chase to break the abstruse of life.
KIMBERLY MOWRY (Brown University): So this is DNA. It’s absolutely admirable and amazing stuff. It’s amenable for heredity; it’s the abiogenetic material. Some would altercate that it’s the adapt for every corpuscle in your body. But at the time aback Rosalind Franklin started alive on DNA, it wasn’t at all bright what DNA absolutely looked like or how it ability work.
NARRATOR: In 1943, afterwards a decade of work, Oswald Avery and his aggregation at Rockefeller University transferred DNA from a disease-causing ache of bacilli into a controllable strain. The controllable ache angry virulent, acerb suggesting a articulation amid DNA and heredity.
KIMBERLY MOWRY: Avery’s abstracts showed that abiogenetic characteristics of one animal could be transferred to another. And he showed that DNA was the agent of that transformation, that DNA was the abiogenetic material. But that cessation was by no agency universally accepted.
NARRATOR: DNA was anticipation to abide of amoroso and phosphates in continued chains of some alien shape. It additionally appeared to accept aloof four added actinic ingredients, alleged bases. But how could such a simple atom be amenable for the assortment of all activity on Earth? Some believed that advertent the anatomy of DNA would beforehand to an answer. That was Franklin’s appointment aback she accustomed at King’s Academy London, in January, 1951.
Now a Abettor at King’s, Raymond Gosling was a Ph.D. apprentice in biophysics, at the time of Franklin’s arrival.
RAYMOND GOSLING (King’s Academy London): Aback I aboriginal came in ’49, ’50, what there was, was a bomb crater, charcoal of the additional Apple War. We had to airing about the bomb atrium and in actuality to the capital anteroom of the college.
Now, our physics administration was bottomward that end of this corridor. Appropriate at the end was the lab that Rosalind and I did the X-ray diffraction in. Yes, yes, now this is absolutely aing to what it was absolutely like. This is about the admeasurement of the room, and as you see it’s appropriate in the basement, so that gives you a array of aftertaste to the bowels-of-the-earth blazon of ambiance in which the aboriginal appointment was done.
NARRATOR: Admitting the war-ravaged facilities, King’s Academy was the abode to be for DNA research.
RAYMOND GOSLING: Maurice Wilkins had his appointment aloof through these doors in those days.
NARRATOR: Maurice Wilkins, a physicist beginning from the Manhattan Project, took some of the aboriginal X-ray diffraction images of DNA here. He had to ad-lib at every footfall to cope with the lab’s aged technology.
RAYMOND GOSLING: Maurice came over and had a attending at what I was doing, and we absitively that, of course, that this was a abominable adulterated object. And he anticipation for a bit, afresh took a condom out of his abridged and said, “Here you are, my boy. Poke the collimator through that.” And so we did.
NARRATOR: Franklin bound adapted to the concrete limitations of the lab, but not to the absolute boys’ club ability of King’s College.
VITTORIO LUZZATI: She was not blessed in King’s College. And all that she told us about it was about incredible. I mean, the actuality that they had a accustomed room, a cafeteria place, which was banned to women, I beggarly it articulate unheard…I beggarly it was cool to us. It was not the affectionate of activity you would like to accept anywhere, to be banned a abode because you are a dog, a woman or a Jew.
NARRATOR: To accomplish affairs worse, there was abashing over who was in charge, Franklin or Maurice Wilkins. At the time of her arrival, Wilkins was on holiday. While he was gone, his Ph.D. student, Raymond Gosling, was put beneath Franklin’s supervision.
Aback Wilkins returned, he absolved into a awfully bigger lab, but it wasn’t his anymore. He absent his lab and his Ph.D. student. And Rosalind Franklin, whom he anticipation was activity to be his assistant, angry out to be bigger accomplished and already alive independently. Aback he arrested in on her progress, he was rebuffed.
MAURICE WILKINS: And she aloof said, “Go aback to your microscopes,” which addled me. What the hell is she on about? So, we had a actual demanding aspect, which did not admonition the collective appointment in our laboratory, as a result.
NARRATOR: The demanding accord amid Wilkins and Franklin arose from a miscommunication that originated with the administrator of the lab, J. T. Randall.
SIR AARON KLUG (Medical Assay Council Chic of Atomic Biology: Actuality we accept copies of Rosalind Franklin’s alive notebooks.
NARRATOR: Sir Aaron Klug, Nobel Award-winning champ and aloft admiral of the Royal Society, was Franklin’s aftermost collaborator. Afterwards her death, he advised her notebooks and letters, including the one from Randall.
SIR AARON KLUG: And in December, 1950, he writes her a letter, and I quote, “This agency that as far as the beginning X-ray accomplishment is concerned, there will be at the moment abandoned yourself and Gosling.” That letter was not apparent by Wilkins. And that fact, and the actuality that Wilkins was not present aback Franklin accustomed at King’s Academy in January, 1951, led to a abundant accord of altercation afterwards on.
VITTORIO LUZZATI: She anticipation that she was an absolute researcher, and Maurice anticipation that she was his assistant, right? And that was a misunderstanding. And the albatross of that confounding lies in Randall’s hands. Conceivably Maurice Wilkins could alive with that affectionate of cryptic bearings added calmly than Rosalind would. She didn’t like that affectionate of cryptic situation.
NARRATOR: The bearings was affronted by a basal personality clash. Franklin—articulate, amorous and consistently up for a acceptable debate—and Wilkins—soft-spoken, advised and shy—just couldn’t get along.
SIR AARON KLUG: She was a appealing boxy person: single-minded, batten what she believed and could, in fact, be absolutely fierce. And if she had been a man, it would accept gone absolutely unremarked.
NARRATOR: Yet addition barrier was amusing chic and a clandestine activity absolutely abstracted from the lab.
RAYMOND GOSLING: She had a actual abounding amusing life. I mean, I apperceive for a actuality that at one stage, I think, she was activity out with the aboriginal violin of the London Philharmonic. Now that is a cut aloft the beer-drinking chaps like us who were sitting in Finch’s. And so to that extent…she had her own flat, she wasn’t active in digs. She didn’t ache fools gladly, she was actual intelligent, and she badly capital to get on with this work. She was so assertive that it was there like a accomplished asset to be plucked from the tree.
NARRATOR: Admitting all the tensions of the lab, Franklin activated herself to the assignment with committed determination, ambience her architect on analytic the anatomy of DNA. But now a new amateur was about to admission the game.
BRENDA MADDOX: While Rosalind was ambience up her new lab at King’s Academy London, James Watson—much younger, 23 but with a Ph.D.—had appear to Europe because he capital to abstraction the gene, and he was assertive that the gene was the affair to study. This was activity to be the abstruse of life.
NARRATOR: Watson goes to a appointment in Naples area Wilkins shows one of his early, down-covered diffraction images of DNA. Watson tries to accommodated Wilkins and altercation an allurement to appointment at King’s College.
JAMES WATSON (Race for the Bifold Helix, BBC, 1974): I approved to allocution to him, but Maurice…afterwards, you know? His English…he doesn’t allocution abundant to strangers. And so I larboard and array of the ambiguous activity that it would be nice if I could appointment with Maurice. But it wasn’t the array of accessible advancing calm of like minds.
NARRATOR: Wilkins does not booty the bait. But anon after, Watson is arrive to the Cavendish, a acclaimed assay lab at Cambridge University, headed by Nobel Laureate, Sir Lawrence Bragg. There, Watson is assigned an appointment with addition physicist angry crystallographer, Francis Crick, an old acquaintance of Wilkins’. Crick and Watson anon click.
But an hour abroad at King’s College, the abrogating atmosphere takes a new about-face for the worse. Rosalind Franklin is accustomed the acerb appellation that Watson will afterwards popularize in The Bifold Helix: Rosy.
MAURICE WILKINS: Oh yes, you know, it was with her walking about the lab array of accustomed her bag, authoritative a bit like that on occasion. She affronted this array of thing. Oh, poor Rosy, what a joke, asinine joke.
RAYMOND GOSLING: A lot of bodies referred to her as Rosy abaft her back, but cipher alleged her Rosy to her face.
NARRATOR: Admitting the adverse environment, aural months of her accession at King’s, Franklin is bearing amazing results.
VITTORIO LUZZATI: Rosalind did the best able work. She had a acceptable camera because she developed a acceptable camera. She got superb pictures, the best in those days.
SIR AARON KLUG: Aural a few months, Franklin adapted the accompaniment of assay at King’s, but aloft all she apparent that there were two forms of DNA.
NARRATOR: Franklin’s assay that there are two forms of DNA is conceivably the best acute footfall against the ultimate assay of its structure.
KIMBERLY MOWRY: Afore Rosalind Franklin apparent that there were two audible forms of DNA—the A and the B forms—people were apparently attractive at mixtures of those two forms. It would be array of like if you had a annual of Mickey Mouse superimposed on a annual of Donald Duck. It would be about absurd to accept what either Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck looked like.
NARRATOR: The A is a drier, added apparent anatomy of DNA and produces added abundant images. The B is wetter and how DNA occurs in active cells. It produces a simpler image, but reveals a key clue to analytic the anatomy of DNA. The X appearance in the average is the diffraction signature of a helix.
The acceptation is not absent on Franklin. She addendum it in accurate autograph and, according to Klug, presents her discovery.
SIR AARON KLUG: In November, 1951, Franklin gave a academy about her appointment and declared the A and the B forms. She concentrated mostly on the A form. “And the A form,” she says, “is acceptable to be circling like the B.” The B, absolutely in her view, was circling throughout. It was absolutely clear. But she was apperception aloft the A anatomy because of the greater abundance of advice you could get from it. That was her analytic approach.
NARRATOR: In the admirers that day is James Watson, beatific by Crick to accumulate intelligence on Franklin’s labors. Crick and Watson are planning to use a altered admission to analytic the anatomy of DNA: model-building.
Aural a week, Watson and Crick allure the scientists from King’s Academy to see their model.
RAYMOND GOSLING: So Rosalind aloof was awfully amused. And she never took prisoners anyway, so she was appealing aciculate in her criticism of the archetypal and explained in detail why it couldn’t be correct: one, two, three. And afresh we left.
NARRATOR: The archetypal of DNA accustomed by Watson and Crick is an awkward failure.
BRENDA MADDOX: Well, as Watson himself said actual frankly, he didn’t apperceive abundant about crystallography to accept the acceptation of her data. He absent that entirely, and he activate himself absolutely aloof absent with her looks. “Why was she so plain? Why didn’t she abrasion lipstick? She ability accept been pretty, if she had taken off her glasses and done commodity absorbing with her hair.”
NARRATOR: Lawrence Bragg, the arch of the Cavendish Lab, is ashamed and forbids Watson and Crick to abide their model-making.
RAYMOND GOSLING: It was a blessed moment for Rosalind and me, because it justified her estimation that you could body models, but you couldn’t prove which was the appropriate one. And actuality they were, the archetypal builders, adamantine at it, and they had produced absolutely the amiss model.
NARRATOR: To Franklin, the adventure is an affirmation of her training: that assay and accommodating assay of the abstracts will acknowledge the answer. But what Franklin may not know, is that her abstruse allegation will abide to accomplish their way to Watson and Crick. And they are accepting there through the agent administrator of her own lab, Maurice Wilkins.
BRENDA MADDOX: Gradually, Wilkins acquainted shut out of his own subject. So he began activity up to Cambridge to allocution to his old friend—and he was an old friend—Francis Crick about DNA, which he was still absorbed in, and about this abhorrent Rosy who was hoarding, he felt, her data. So inadvertently, Wilkins was the conduit. A lot of advice from Rosalind and from King’s absolutely anesthetized its way to Cambridge, so that alike if Watson and Crick were not clearly alive on DNA, they were speculating.
NARRATOR: But while Crick and Watson speculate, Franklin continues to assay and aggregate new information. In May, 1952, she sets up the X-ray diffractometer to booty an angel of the wetter anatomy of DNA, the B.
Today, X-ray diffraction technology, awfully improved, is still acclimated to analyze atomic structure.
JOANNE YEH (Brown University): At the end of this bottle capillary is a DNA fiber, agnate to the affectionate that Rosalind Franklin formed with. And it is so baby that it’s difficult to see it with your naked eye. Rosalind Franklin had to array calm 20 of these fibers, in adjustment to get X-ray diffraction images.
NARRATOR: Now, scientists use DNA crystals, which accord bigger after-effects than these diminutive fibers. Twenty of them arranged calm are about the array of a animal hair.
And with X-ray beams at diminutive 300 times stronger today than in Franklin’s time, it can booty abandoned abnormal to betrayal an angel that took Franklin 100 hours. Now, a computer interprets the angel and apace calculates a 3-D model. But in Franklin’s time, allegory diffraction patterns could crave bags of calculations done by hand, and interpreting a distinct angel could booty added than a year.
JOANNE YEH: So, for Rosalind Franklin to go through the calculation, she had to accept backbone and action and a absolute drive and to do all of the adding that was all-important by hand.
NARRATOR: In May, 1952, Franklin’s backbone and burdensome techniques pay off, bearing the sharpest angel yet of the B anatomy of DNA. She labels it “Photo 51” and puts it a while she continues her appointment on the A form. But about this time, Franklin will admission addition nickname: The Dark Lady. She is so black at King’s, she arranges to leave. She agrees to accomplishment allegory her data, address up her allegation and break until the end of the year.
RAYMOND GOSLING: I was actual apologetic that she should acquisition it all-important to leave, but of beforehand accustomed that there was no alternative, that the Crown Prince and the Dark Lady were never activity to get on together. He wasn’t activity to leave, so it was accessible that Rosalind was activity to leave.
NARRATOR: In the bosom of this transition, addition gives Photo 51 to Wilkins.
RAYMOND GOSLING: I cannot bethink how he came by this admirable picture. It may accept been accustomed to him by Rosalind, or it may accept been me.
NARRATOR: Meanwhile, at the Cavendish, a new researcher moves into the lab with Watson and Crick: Peter Pauling, the son of the acclaimed authority of allure from Caltech, Linus Pauling.
Abandoned a year ago, Pauling had pioneered the aforementioned model-building address adopted by Watson and Crick. With little beginning data, Pauling had appear up with the anatomy for continued stretches of proteins, a single-stranded helix. Now Pauling sends his son a cardboard in which he proposes a anatomy for DNA.
JAMES WATSON: Of beforehand we were upset. The catechism was, could he be right? And we knew that Linus didn’t accept a acceptable X-ray photograph. So could he accept anticipation it through afterwards any of the King’s data?
NARRATOR: The acknowledgment was no. Pauling makes some of the aforementioned mistakes that Watson and Crick had fabricated on their aboriginal model, a three-stranded braid with the bases on the outside. But Pauling’s aberration will be apparent as anon as he publishes.
Watson knows that if Pauling gets admission to Rosalind Franklin’s data, he could bound appear up with the actual model. Now, the chase begins in earnest. Watson estimates he and Crick accept six weeks to break the problem.
About the time Franklin gives her aftermost presentation at King’s College, Jim Watson shows up in her office. He tries to appearance her Pauling’s paper, conceivably to argue her that Pauling will exhausted them to break the anatomy of DNA, if she doesn’t basin her abstracts with him and Crick. And according to Watson’s account, he implies that she is amateur in interpreting X-ray pictures.
BRENDA MADDOX: And as he tells us in The Bifold Helix, “She began to beforehand against me, and,” he said, “fearing that in her acrimony she ability bang me, I retreated.” Which is absolutely absurd; she was about bisected his size.
NARRATOR: Watson afresh letters that he runs into Maurice Wilkins. Wilkins shows Watson Photo 51.
MAURICE WILKINS: And aback he saw this, suddenly…well I was surprised. I said “Oh!” like this, you see? I thought, “Oh, well, this charge accept been done in the aftermost brace of canicule or something.” But it occurred to me it had been lying there for several months.
NARRATOR: “My aperture fell accessible and my beating began to race,” Watson says in The Bifold Helix. It is the bright X pattern, the signature of a helix, that ignites his excitement. But there’s more.
SIR AARON KLUG: From this photo abandoned you can deduce the cardinal of units per turn, per circling turn, that were in the helix.
NARRATOR: The cardinal of curve in the photo shows that anniversary aberration of the braid has 10 units, or atomic architecture blocks. And the ambit of the angel accord to a braid of 34 angstroms per turn. Wilkins gives this acute advice to Watson.
SIR AARON KLUG: So they get the basal ambit for architecture the circling backbones.
NARRATOR: On the alternation aback to Cambridge, Watson sketches Photo 51 on his bi-weekly and letters to Crick. Based on Franklin’s data, Crick and Watson go to Lawrence Bragg, the arch of the Cavendish lab, and he gives them permission, already again, to body a model. They activate on February 4, 1953.
BRENDA MADDOX: Afresh they accept addition idea. They knew that abstracts from all of King’s biophysics unit, including Rosalind’s work, was appear in a address for the Medical Assay Council.
NARRATOR: In the MRC report, Franklin places DNA in a chic of molecules with a assertive blazon of symmetry, as these simple assets in her anthology illustrate. The implications of that agreement would be accessible to an able like Francis Crick.
SIR AARON KLUG: The MRC address contains Franklin’s data: the agreement of the A form, all the bright parameters, but aloft all, the symmetry. It was this agreement which tells Crick there were two chains alive in adverse directions.
NARRATOR: Two strands, anniversary with the sugars and phosphates alive in altered directions: an anti-parallel bifold helix. But area do the bases go? On the outside, as Watson and Crick depicted in their aboriginal model, or the inside, as Franklin had told them?
There were two important clues. A few years earlier, a British scientist, William Astbury, theorized that the four bases—adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine—would be ample like pennies. And at Columbia University, Erwin Chargaff apparent that DNA consistently contains according amounts of adenine and thymine, as able-bodied as according amounts of guanine and cytosine.
At first, Watson anticipation that the bases charge be commutual like with like: A with A, G with G, and so on. But an appointment mate, Jerry Donohue, shows him that he’s application the amiss actinic forms.
With the appropriate forms, Watson afresh makes a behemothic leap. He finds he can fit the bases into the braid abstinent by Franklin if he pairs A with T and G with C. Arranged this way, the bases anatomy the aing rungs in a agee ladder on the central of a bifold helix.
It is Rosalind Franklin’s beginning framework, a accumulating of affirmation agilely accumulated over two years, that guides Watson and Crick to break the anatomy of DNA.
And in addition eureka moment, the anatomy rewards them with the actual ability of how DNA replicates. Unzipping the braid produces two templates to actualize two new helices, anniversary identical to the original. DNA isn’t aloof a molecule, it’s the adapt for life.
In one the best acclaimed understatements in science, Watson and Crick write, “It has not able our apprehension that the specific bond we accept accustomed anon suggests a accessible artful apparatus for the abiogenetic material.”
The day was Saturday, February 28, 1953.
BRENDA MADDOX: That was the day that they went into the pub, The Eagle, and Crick told everybody, “We’ve apparent the abstruse of life.”
NARRATOR: Now that they accept apparent the abstruse of life, they accept addition botheration to solve. How are they activity to prove it? Already again, they charge Franklin. She campaign to Cambridge to analysis the model.
SIR AARON KLUG: And Watson writes in his book that, “her actual accepting of the archetypal afraid me.” But she, she accustomed anon that the archetypal was correct. What conceivably she didn’t apperceive was how abundant of her abstracts they had accustomed in adjustment to body that model.
BRENDA MADDOX: Rosalind’s allotment in the abundant assay was blocked by a alternation of assignment fabricated abaft her back. The affair is that Watson and Crick capital to broadcast bound to get advanced of Linus Pauling in California. But they were captivated aback by the awkward actuality that all the beginning appointment that had led to their abundant leaps of the acuteness had been done at a battling institution, at King’s. And Rosalind’s abstracts hadn’t been published.
NARRATOR: According to Brenda Maddox, Bragg, of the Cavendish, and Randall, of King’s, admission the editors of Nature to architect a solution. They accede to broadcast three accessories aural a distinct issue: Watson and Crick’s commodity first, Wilkins and his abettor next, and aftermost is Franklin and Gosling’s article. Its position at the end suggests Franklin’s allegation alone affirm Watson and Crick’s archetypal instead of accouterment the capital abstracts acclimated to codify it.
SIR JOHN MADDOX (Former Editor, Nature): The Crick and Watson cardboard doesn’t say in what accurate respects they were accountable to Franklin for her work.
NARRATOR: Sir John Maddox, afterwards editor of Nature for two decades, shows how Franklin’s addition was blocked by Watson and Crick with a distinct attentive sentence.
SIR JOHN MADDOX: They say, “We accept been angry by a accustomed adeptness of her work.” But in fact, they had accurate adeptness of her work. And I, as an editor, would accept smelled a rat at that.
NARRATOR: Franklin had accounting her own commodity a ages afore she saw the model. Inserted by duke into the aboriginal argument is the sentence, “Thus our accustomed annual are constant with the archetypal proposed by Crick and Watson.” Indeed, her annual were constant with their model, because they abundantly based their archetypal on her ideas.
LYNN OSMAN ELKIN: What did Watson and Crick accept afterwards Rosalind Franklin’s data? And the acknowledgment is, “almost nothing.” They were assertive to amount it out, their appointment was brilliant, but they couldn’t do it afterwards Rosalind Franklin’s data.
NARRATOR: In fact, Rosalind Franklin could be said to be Watson and Crick’s unknowing, and unrecognized, collaborator. By the time the accessories appeared in Nature, on April 25, 1953, Franklin had taken her new position at Birkbeck Academy in London.
In her 5th attic appointment beneath a adulterated skylight, she generally larboard an awning accessible on her board to assure her papers. She headed the virus assay lab from 1953 to 1958 and thrived in Birkbeck’s accommodating atmosphere, abundant like her admired Laboratoire in Paris.
Here, she fabricated what she alleged her greatest discovery, alive out the circuitous anatomy of a virus and analysis its communicable element. She collaborated with Aaron Klug who afterwards wins a Nobel Prize.
SIR AARON KLUG: She formed out the exact geometry so that…it was important in history that you could absolutely do such things. The affair about Rosalind was that she was committed and she could accouterment these ample and difficult problems.
NARRATOR: Franklin’s virus appointment anchored her all-embracing acceptability and brought abounding invitations to allege in the United States. In 1956, she acclaimed her 36th altogether while visiting universities in California, and climbed Mt. Whitney, one of the accomplished peaks in North America. But a the end of her trip, Franklin was adversity from astringent belly pains. On her acknowledgment to England she was diagnosed with cancer. There is belief that her appointment with X-rays may accept triggered the disease.
SUE RICHLEY: She handled it marvelously.
ANNE PIPER: Yup, she was in the Marsden, the blight hospital, and there she was in a private, able-bodied a distinct allowance at the end of the aisle with appointment affidavit and calculations all around.
DONALD CASPER (Florida Accompaniment University): She was still optimistic and assured that things were activity to get better.
NARRATOR: Don Caspar, an American colleague, recalls her attempt to ascend from the basement lab to her fifth attic appointment upstairs.
DONALD CASPER: Up until the end, she was still alive away. We had admired we could admonition her, but abominably there was annihilation could be done.
BRENDA MADDOX: Afterwards a year and a bisected of abhorrent illness, aching treatment, she asked her doctor for a aboveboard prognosis, and he told her to seek the consolations of religion. She was furious. She was not religious. She had a abounding agenda. She had an allurement to a acquaintance in Caracas. She was too active to die.
VITTORIO LUZZATI: Rosalind and I were activity to appear a affair in Leeds, and she appropriate that we could drive and go and appointment some of the Norman cathedrals. Aback I accustomed in London, I alleged her, because I accustomed to break with her. And there was no answer. And afterwards several attempts to get her on the phone, I alleged Aaron Klug, who I knew rather well, and he told me she was in hospital. So until the actual aftermost day, she hoped that she could go to the countryside with a friend. And she died while we were at Leeds, at the meeting.
NARRATOR: Her epitaph reads “Scientist: her assay and discoveries on bacilli abide of abiding annual to mankind.” She died April 16, 1958. That aforementioned day, the London Times agitated an commodity acclaiming her virus model, which was apparent at the Brussels Apple Fair.
Her obituary in the New York Times alleged her “one of a baddest bandage of antecedents unraveling virus diseases and genetics.”
She went to the grave never alive how abundant Watson and Crick had relied on her appointment to accomplish their abundant discovery. Or if she knew, she didn’t care.
In 1962, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Award-winning for their assay of the anatomy of DNA. Franklin’s name receives no mention, save a casual advertence by Wilkins. Her acute addition to their appointment becomes a comment in accurate history.
VITTORIO LUZZATI: Rosalind apparently would accept been forgotten—not by her friends, we would not accept abandoned Rosalind, but, I mean, by the accessible in general. If we allocution about Rosalind, it is because of the way Jim Watson affronted her memory.
NARRATOR: In 1968, James Watson appear The Bifold Helix, his claimed annual of the assay of the anatomy of DNA. In his book, Watson casts Franklin as uncooperative, airedale and “incompetent in interpreting X-ray pictures.” And yet, Watson admits he needs her findings. He alike boasts of application her appointment afterwards her adeptness or permission, saying, “Rosy, of course, did not anon accord us her data. For that matter, no one at King’s accomplished they were in our hands.”
Aback the book was in asperous draft, Harvard University Columnist asked those mentioned in the arrangement to apprehend it. Many, including Crick and Wilkins, objected so acerb that, in a awful aberrant move, Harvard withdrew its action to publish. The book came out with a accustomed columnist and became an burning best seller.
BRENDA MADDOX: But best of the capital portraits were modified, all except Rosalind, who was dead. And every biographer knows you can’t aspersion the dead.
NARRATOR: Franklin’s ancestors and colleagues protested Watson’s assuming of, as one put it, “that able babe who could not avert herself.”
BRENDA MADDOX: So Watson obliged. And he wrote a pious coda adage as a adolescent man he had not accustomed the difficulties that women had in actuality accustomed and authoritative their way in science And the coda is there, but it does annihilation to adapt or abate the appearance of this, of this abhorrent Rosy.
NARRATOR: Watson beneath NOVA’s appeal for an interview.
Franklin is now accepting some continued behind recognition: plaques area she lived and worked, and, recently, Britain’s Royal Society created the Rosalind Franklin Award to abutment women in science.
Aback Sir Aaron Klug won his Nobel Prize, in allotment for the appointment he started with Franklin, he, clashing the DNA trio, accustomed her contribution.
SIR AARON KLUG: As I said in my Nobel lecture, she fabricated absolutely an consequence on me, area she acicular the way to arrest important, difficult problems, no amount how continued they took.
BRENDA MADDOX: Rosalind died at 37 with no faculty of accepting been belted out in a chase that abandoned Watson and Crick knew was a race. She died appreciative of her apple acceptability in atramentous and virus research. She was cheated of the abandoned affair she absolutely wanted, which was a adventitious to accomplishment her work. My view? Her absent award-winning was life.
NARRATOR: Those who adore Franklin booty alleviation in her uncompromising dedication. For Rosalind Franklin, the joy of science was in the appointment itself and its ultimate reward, the advancement of humankind.
On NOVA’s Website, acquisition out why Rosalind Franklin’s Photo 51 holds so abounding clues to the anatomy of DNA, at PBS.org or America Online, Keyword PBS.
The Abstruse of Photo 51 video and the book, Rosalind Franklin, The Dark Lady of DNA, are accessible from WGBH Boston Video. To abode an order, amuse alarm 1-800-255-9424.
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Secret of Photo 51
Narrated bySigourney Weaver
Written, Produced and Directed byGary Glassman
Edited byGary Glassman
Associate ProducerCaroline Toth
Additional Editing and ProducingDaniel McCabe
CameraDominic DeSantisNed BurgessMark DanielsMichael Chin
Sound RecordistsXavier GrietteAndré RigautSteve BoresGabriel Monts
Abettor EditorMark Gottlieb
Online Editor and ColoristMike Dawson
Audio MixJohn Jenkins
Sound Design and EditingHeart Punch Studios
Assembly AssistanceJim AtkinsJennifer CallahanElizabeth Nicole GamerCamille Meyer
Nancy King, Assembly Manager
Marilyn Salvatore, Costume Designer
Tom Walden, Assembly Designer
Anne Mulhall, Casting, LDI Casting
Nicky Pleau, Beard and Make-up
Red Herring, Lighting Equipment
David Rotondo, Archetypal Builder
Leah Serinsky as Rosalind Franklin
Sophie Tezenas as Rosalind Franklin
Manya Branham Glassman as adolescent Rosalind Franklin
Daniel Kirby as James Watson
Christopher Wall as Francis Crick
Patrick Dougherty as Maurice Wilkins
Ryan Culligan as Raymond Gosling
Thomas Norton as Lawrence Bragg
Walter Cotter as JT Randall
Special acknowledgment to all those who fabricated the recreations possible
Archival MaterialAva Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Oregon Accompaniment University LibraryAmerican Society for Microbiology ArchiveBBC WorldwideCELLS alive!Churchill ArchiveCold Spring Harbor Chic ArchiveFranklin Ancestors Getty ImagesRachel GlaeserHarvard University ArchivesITNKing’s Academy London ArchiveSpecial Collections Administration at Leeds University LibraryVittorio LuzzatiNATURENational Library of Medicine, History of Medicine DivisionNational Portrait Gallery, LondonThe New York TimesNobel FoundationNovartis Foundation, aforetime the Ciba FoundationPATHÉ ARCHIVESPhoto Researchers, Inc.RETNARockefeller Archive CenterValerie Sutton-MattocksSveriges TelevisionUniversity of Pennsylvania ArchivesThe Whipple Museum of the History of Science
Special ThanksHelen BermanBrown UniversityCarolyn Cohen, Brandeis UniversityDEXCO Inc. Vernon, CT, Flanders, NJAnne Fausto Sterling, Brown UniversityJohn FinchJenifer Franklin GlynnMike FullerStephen HarrisonKen HolmesVictor McElhenyMedical Assay Council, Chic for Atomic BiologyTrinity Repertory TheaterScott Turner, Brown UniversityUniversity of Rhode Island Administration of Biological Sciences
NOVA Alternation GraphicsNational Ministry of Design
NOVA ThemeMason DaringMartin BrodyMichael Whalen
Post Assembly Online EditorMark Steele
Closed CaptioningThe Caption Center
NOVA AdministratorQueene Coyne
PublicityJonathan RenesDiane Buxton
Senior ResearcherEthan Herberman
Assembly CoordinatorLinda Callahan
Assemblage ManagerHolly Archibald
Legal CounselSusan Rosen Shishko
Post Assembly AssistantPatrick Carey
Associate Producer, Post ProductionNathan Gunner
Post Assembly SupervisorRegina O’Toole
Post Assembly EditorRebecca Nieto
Producers, Special ProjectsLisa MirowitzStephen Sweigart
Coordinating ProducerLaurie Cahalane
Supervising ProducerLisa D’Angelo
Senior Science EditorEvan Hadingham
Senior Alternation ProducerMelanie Wallace
Managing DirectorAlan Ritsko
Executive ProducerPaula S. Apsell
A NOVA Assembly by Providence Pictures, Inc. for WGBH/Boston in affiliation with the BBC, France 2, Multimedia France Productions and Centre National de la Cinématographie.
© 2003 WGBH Educational Foundation
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