Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 July 1920 – 16 April 1958) was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. Franklin is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA which led to discovery of DNA double helix.
Her data, according to Francis Crick, was “the data we actually used” to formulate Crick and Watson’s 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA. Franklin’s images of X-ray diffraction confirming the helical structure of DNA were shown to Watson without her approval or knowledge. Though this image and her accurate interpretation of the data provided valuable insight into the DNA structure, Franklin’s scientific contributions to the discovery of the double helix are often overlooked. Unpublished drafts of her papers (written just as she was arranging to leave King’s College London) show that she had independently determined the overall B-form of the DNA helix and the location of the phosphate groups on the outside of the structure. Moreover, Franklin personally told Crick and Watson that the backbones had to be on the outside, which was crucial since before this both they and Linus Pauling had independently generated non-illuminating models with the chains inside and the bases pointing outwards. However, her work was published third, in the series of three DNANature articles, led by the paper of Watson and Crick which only hinted at her contribution to their hypothesis.
Minimal Posters - Six Women Who Changed Science. And The Word.
I want these in my room.
Barbara McClintock (June 16, 1902 – September 2, 1992) was an American scientist and one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists. She produced the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome with physical traits, and demonstrated the role of the telomere and centromere, regions of the chromosome that are important in the conservation of genetic information. During the 1940s and 1950s, McClintock discovered transposition and used it to show how genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on or off. Encountering skepticism of her research and its implications, she stopped publishing her data in 1953. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1983 for the discovery of genetic transposition; she is the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in that category.
NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who holds the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman, took charge of the International Space Station Saturday, becoming only the second female commander in the orbiting lab’s 14-year history.
The share of doctorate degrees awarded to U.S. women continues to grow in all fields. There’s lots of work to be done in physical sciences and engineering, but these are great trends. Maybe not steep enough, but hey … academia is made of molasses.
Valentina Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times during her three day spaceflight in Vostok 6 in 1963. First woman in space!
Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman in space when she flew the Soyuz T-7 to the Salyut 7 space station in 1984. First woman to perform a spacewalk!
Soviet women astronauts, by comic book artist Philip Bond. (Click the link for portraits of women astronauts from the US as well.)