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50th anniversary of the discovery of theDNA structure

  1. Apr 25, 2003 #1

    iansmith

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    Today (april 25th) is 50 th aniversary of the discovery of the Double helix structure of DNA by Watson and Crick. Watson and Crick receveice a nobel prize for their work but they in fact did not do any experimentation. They have taken work from another worker and published it under their name.

    In my opinion, Watson and Crick work is overrated and Avery, McLeod and McCarty should be more recongnize (Discover that DNA was responsible for the transformation in Griffiths experiment).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2003 #2
    I was wondering about that double helix at Google. Thanks.
     
  4. Apr 25, 2003 #3

    Monique

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    How about Rosalind Franklin? She was the one who was able to make perfect pictures of the DNA structure and realized that DNA occurs in two different forms (a and b). She tried to keep the information secret so that she could figure out the 3D model, but Wilkins was spying on her and gave the data to Watson and Crick. Their first try of making a model was an embarresing experience since they had made trivial mistakes, I don't know how long it took them to figure out the real model..
     
  5. Apr 25, 2003 #4

    Monique

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  6. Apr 25, 2003 #5

    iansmith

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    In the paper, Franklin comes out as being a bad person. She seems to have a bad temper and a bit of a loner.

    Watson and Crick didn't do any experimental work. They just took some experiement evidence from various workers and put them together.
     
  7. Apr 25, 2003 #6
    Yes Franklin does not get enough credit.

    that's how science goes though. lots of poeple work on a problem and things related to it. and the credit kind of arbitrarlily goes to one person, like they did it all themselves.
     
  8. Apr 25, 2003 #7

    Monique

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    From various authors? It is my understanding that they couldn't have done it without Franklin's diffraction photographs, which they obtained without her permission. Did you read in the link that Franklin has already written a draft where she describes the accurate structure of DNA?

    She didn't know she had competition, since others weren't able to get the same quality pictures as she did. That is why she worked alone, she had all the clues there before her, she just needed to piece it together which she was positive of that she didn't need other people's suggestions.

    The link also describes how Watson and Crick has very limited understanding of how to interpret the picture they 'stole' from her, where they needed help from an expert. Franklin DID have all the tools in her head. Her mistake was to focus on the wrong state of DNA which slowed her down.

    Btw, the reason probably that she isn't accredited for her work is that she died 5 (?) years after the publication of the structure. Nobel prices aren't awared to dead people.

    It's a shame.
     
  9. Apr 25, 2003 #8
    I think it so unfair that Rosalin didn't get a Nobel Prize!! 2 scientists did, after using her by stealing her ideas!! the ruthlessness!
     
  10. Apr 25, 2003 #9

    iansmith

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    Yeah I have read you link. From what I read in the past from various authors Franklin always comes off has being stuborn and a loner. She seems also to have a temper as point in your link that she destroy Watson and Crick first model. Anyway, most of the story have been written by people close to or admirring Watson and Crick. What I have read also says that she was brillant and I think she was. Maybe she you of accomplish the model faster if she had taken advise or comment from people. Scientific research is about peer review and helping each other. Watson and Crick were off and i think Watson was a physicist (or maybe Crick and don't remember). I think jumping from one field to the other is not simple even in th 50's. Watson and Crick were relying on their memorize which was not that accurate.

    too bad they don't give Nobel prize to death people. Instead they could start a foundation in the name of that person.
     
  11. Apr 25, 2003 #10
    Crick was trained as a physicist, and was working on his Ph.D. at the time. Watson was educated as a biologist and already had his Ph.D. (this was back in the day when the big divide in university biology research was between zoology and botany, not molecular/cell biology and organismal/evolutionary biology).

    I think there's a two or three year limit on the Nobel Prize being awarded to dead people. So if it had been a year or two earlier, Franklin should have been on that list. Not sure about this, though.
     
  12. Apr 25, 2003 #11

    selfAdjoint

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    This isn't what happened. The head of the lab she was working in showed the diffraction photo to the head of the lab Watson and Crick were working in, and this man showed it to Watson and Crick. They saw that a double helix was right, but they had been working on unsuccessful double helix models for some time.

    I think it's unfair to them to say they didn't do experiments, as if experiments were all there is to science. They figured out the structure where the sugars went, where the hydrogen bonds went, the whole kit and kaboodle. Their model is so right that everyone who sees it says "I could have done that!". But Pauling didn't do it, Chargaff didn't do it, and if Rosalind did it she sure didn't act that way. She should have published her pictures, insisted that her director run inference with the Royal Society or whoever. But she kept them in her drawer and never said boo.
     
  13. Apr 25, 2003 #12

    This is a good point, no one complains that Einstien got a Nobel even though he didn't perform the experiments that showed electron emmision from metals, people don't complain that Schrodinger and Dirac got prizes even though they didn't do the experiments that showed the wave nature of particles... There is something to be said for putting all the peices together as selfAdjoint has pointed out, I don't think we should be discrediting Watson and Crick.
     
  14. Apr 26, 2003 #13
    Sorry if i am going off topic, buti couldn't resist !
    Just put your mouse cursor on the google logo for some seconds, a tooltip will show telling you what is so special about today (if there is anything).
     
  15. Apr 26, 2003 #14

    iansmith

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    I found the original paper written by Watson and Crick, and other related paper on the DNA structure. It also includes the paper written by Avery, McLeod and McCarty. The paper are free on Nature.com
    Here the link

    http://www.nature.com/nature/dna50/archive.html
     
  16. Apr 27, 2003 #15
    Yes, I agree with the fact that Watson and Crick were riding on Franklin's painstaking work in X-raying and decifering the DNA molecule.

    Franklin was a wonderfully bright woman in England when Watson and Crick met her. They were facinated by her work in discovering the DNA molecule and immediatly went off on thier own drunken crusade to solve its structure and function.

    Franklen was then ridiculed by the same pair of interlopers who called her names like "Rosy" (some how used in a derogatory way) and "The Dark Lady". Franklin did at first become quite angered by this bit of theivery but after a time she was able to let go of the anger and continue in her work

    Franklin then made X-ray image #52 which was the illuminating factor to figuring the base pairs and the double helix and single helix configurations of the molecule.

    What Crick and Watson do deserve credit for is their model building and their models of the data Franklin painstakingly discovered.

    Crick and Watson's model building also benefited from the detailious and logical criticisms of Franklin. Thank you.
     
  17. Apr 28, 2003 #16

    Monique

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    They called her Rosy because of the way that she used to walk through the lab, wandering around with her mind somewhere else.
     
  18. Apr 29, 2003 #17
    I don't know what "Rosie" has to do with wandering around with the mind elsewhere. But... "rosie" as in "ring around the rosie, pocket full of possies" is a line from a nursery rhyme about the black death... the "rosie" here is the lesion caused by the virus.

    One reason Franklin may have appeared gloomy and chronicly upset may be because she was soaking up "x amount" of X-rays during her continued research of the DNA molecule... using X-rays to in her lab. It was unknown, at the time, how damaging to organisms these rays are.
     
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