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Home » Books » Science » Biology » Genetics & Genomics

Rosalind Franklin

The Dark Lady of DNA

By Brenda Maddox

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Format: Paperback, 416 pages, Perennial Edition
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 01 September 2003
The untold story of the woman whose role in the discovery of DNAUs structure is one of the most fascinating and controversial in modern science, is told here by the prize-winning author of "Nora: The Real Molly Bloom." Photo inserts.

Reviews

Award-winning biographer Maddox should do justice to the woman behind the discovery of the double helix, who died of ovarian cancer when she was in her thirties. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Her photographs of DNA were called "among the most beautiful X-ray photographs of any substance ever taken," but physical chemist Rosalind Franklin never received due credit for the crucial role these played in the discovery of DNA's structure. In this sympathetic biography, Maddox argues that sexism, egotism and anti-Semitism conspired to marginalize a brilliant and uncompromising young scientist who, though disliked by some colleagues, was a warm and admired friend to many. Franklin was born into a well-to-do Anglo-Jewish family and was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. After beginning her research career in postwar Paris she moved to Kings College, London, where her famous photographs of DNA were made. These were shown without her knowledge to James Watson, who recognized that they indicated the shape of a double helix and rushed to publish the discovery; with colleagues Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Deeply unhappy at Kings, Rosalind left in 1953 for another lab, where she did important research on viruses, including polio. Her career was cut short when she died of ovarian cancer at age 37. Maddox sees her subject as a wronged woman, but this view seems rather extreme. Maddox (D.H. Lawrence) does not fully explore an essential question raised by the Franklin-Watson conflict: whether methodology and intuition play competing or complementary roles in scientific discovery. Drawing on interviews, published records, and a trove of personal letters to and from Rosalind, Maddox takes pains to illuminate her subject as a gifted scientist and a complex woman, but the author does not entirely dispel the darkness that clings to "the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology." (Oct. 2)

"A finely crafted biography." -- Booklist "Lively, absorbing and even handed . What emerges is the complex portrait of a passionate, flawed, courageous women." -- Washington Post Book World "A gripping yet nuanced account . a magnificent biography." -- The Independent "A meticulous biography.[Rosalind Franklin] was the unacknowledged heroine of DNA, the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology." -- The Economist "In this sympathetic biography, Maddox .illuminates her subject as a gifted scientist and a complex woman." -- Publishers Weekly "A joy to read." -- Sunday Telegraph "An excellent biography . Maddox's account of Franklin's last years and premature death is moving and poignant." -- Women's Review of Books "Able, balanced and well researched." -- Science "Thoughtful and engaging." -- Chicago Tribune Thoughtful and engaging. --Chicago Tribune A joy to read. --Sunday Telegraph A finely crafted biography. --Booklist Able, balanced and well researched. --Science "A vivid three-dimensional portrait of a sciencetist and human being ... a moving biography."--Daily Telegraph (London) "Maddox does an excellent job of revisiting Franklin's scientific contributions while revealing her complicated personality."--Library Journal "A finely crafted biography."--Booklist "Lively, absorbing and even handed ... What emerges is the complex portrait of a passionate, flawed, courageous women."--Washington Post Book World "A joy to read."--Sunday Telegraph "A meticulous biography...[Rosalind Franklin] was the unacknowledged heroine of DNA, the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology."--The Economist "Thoughtful and engaging."--Chicago Tribune "A sensitive, sympathetic look at a women whose life was greater than the sum if its parts."--New York Times Book Review "An excellent biography ... Maddox's account of Franklin's last years and premature death is moving and poignant."--Women's Review of Books "In this sympathetic biography, Maddox ...illuminates her subject as a gifted scientist and a complex woman."--Publishers Weekly "Maddox does justice to her subject as only the best biographers can."--Los Angeles Times Book Review "A gripping yet nuanced account ... a magnificent biography."--The Independent "Able, balanced and well researched."--Science "Brenda Maddox has done a great service to science and history."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review Maddox does justice to her subject as only the best biographers can. --Los Angeles Times Book Review" Lively, absorbing and even handed What emerges is the complex portrait of a passionate, flawed, courageous women. --Washington Post Book World" Brenda Maddox has done a great service to science and history. --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review" Thoughtful and engaging. --Chicago Tribune" A sensitive, sympathetic look at a women whose life was greater than the sum if its parts. --New York Times Book Review" An excellent biography Maddox s account of Franklin s last years and premature death is moving and poignant. --Women's Review of Books" In this sympathetic biography, Maddox illuminates her subject as a gifted scientist and a complex woman. --Publishers Weekly" Able, balanced and well researched. --Science" Maddox does an excellent job of revisiting Franklin s scientific contributions while revealing her complicated personality. --Library Journal" A finely crafted biography. --Booklist" A gripping yet nuanced account a magnificent biography. --The Independent" A joy to read. --Sunday Telegraph" A meticulous biography [Rosalind Franklin] was the unacknowledged heroine of DNA, the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology. --The Economist" A vivid three-dimensional portrait of a sciencetist and human being a moving biography. --Daily Telegraph (London)"

EAN: 9780060985080
ISBN: 0060985089
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Dimensions: 20.42 x 13.51 x 2.54 centimetres (0.32 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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