Rosalind Franklin might be officially the first historical lady of the geek world who I talked about on The Mary Sue. Well, there were a bunch of posts we wrote in the two weeks before the site went live, but they don’t count… the site wasn’t live. I talked about Franklin as an example of a person who was denied her proper due because of unreasonable expectations of what women are “naturally” like.
Franklin’s research was directly responsible for giving Watson and Crick, the famed discoverers of the structure of DNA, the final pieces of the DNA puzzle, even by their own admission. Yet her research, collected based on techniques she’d invented independently, was shown to them without her permission or even awareness by a colleague who she worked with regularly, and she was left predominantly uncredited for her unwilling contributions. The reason why they, as rival scientists working on the same discovery, felt it was okay to inspect her work without her permission? Well, it boils down to… “she wasn’t very approachable.” Needless to say, this isn’t a good reason to leave somebody uncredited.
Jenifer Glynn, Franklin’s sister, offers insight into her sibling’s personality in here book of Rosalind’s correspondence, My Sister Rosalind Franklin: A Family Memoir.