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
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
So all in all we'll let the reader be the judge as to who really discovered this great contribution