Make your own free website on Tripod.com

The Founders of the Double Helix

The drama behind the discovery

Home
the discovery
James Dewey Watson
Maurice Wilkins
Francis Harry Compton Crick Facts
James Watson Facts
Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins Facts
More Sites

Since this report is about Watson, Wilkins, and Crick, we're supposed to say that they discovered the Double Helix.  However, there was a scientific soap opera going on around its discovery...

thingy.jpg
here's some cool DNA thingy that somebody discovered sometime

   Here's a brief overview of the events leading up to the discovery:
 
   In 1951 M.H.F. Wilkins was a member of the team working on the diffraction of DNA and nucleic acids, but he was "on holiday," as the Brits say, when physical chemist Rosalind Franklin was brought in on the project.  Franklin immidiately took over the project, and upon Wilkins return he was under the impression that she was merely a technician gathering data (which didn't go over too well with her, and Wilkins wasn't particularly thrilled either when he figured out what was going on).
 
   That November Franklin gave a seminar on her findings at that time to an audience including James Watson and F.H.C. Crick.  After scribbling down some notes and not really paying any attention to the lecture the two went back to Cambridge and came up with an obscure DNA model, which was shredded to pieces by an enraged Franklin after a presentation of it.
 
    Now that both sides were completely ticked-off at each other, the race was on (or at least it was to Watson, Crick, and Wilkins) to discover the DNA.  Throughout the race the Watson/Crick/Wilkins team used data from other scientists, especially Franklin.
 
    On March 17, 1953, a draft of Franklin's final information was written, but since she wasn't quick to publish her own results, the Crick/Watson/Wilkins team beat her to it, publishing their results the next day.
 
    Nobel prizes were not awarded to the discoverers (if that's a real word...) of the structure of DNA until 1962 and are only awarded to living persons; Franklin died in 1958.  In their final presentation when receiving their Nobel Prize, the team included 98 references.  Guess who wasn't one of them?  Only Wilkins put her name in his acknowledgements.
 
    So all in all we'll let the reader be the judge as to who really discovered this great contribution to DNA.

If you answered Matt or Aaron  for that one question you're right...but if you answered Franklin, you're righter...