Happy Birthday Rosalind Franklin!
Join us online for music, art and conversation to celebrate the centenary of Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), the pioneering British crystallographer whose photo 51 revealed the double helix structure of DNA. Extraordinarily talented, she died tragically young, but had already carried out ground-breaking research that tackled our greatest modern challenge – viruses.
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British Sign Language Interpreter – Lauren Lister
Rosalind Franklin (1920-58)
Dr Patricia Fara, science historian and Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge
Rosalind Franklin’s Science
Prof. Brian Sutton, Professor of Molecular Biophysics, King’s College London
Our two presenters discuss Franklin’s legacy in the light of the current viral situation
Q&A with the audience
Chaired by Dr Bergit Arends, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bristol
MUSIC & ART:
(7.10pm)* Online video premiere of “The Franklin Effect” CD, recorded in 2016 by electric voice theatre including works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Lynne Plowman, Shirley J. Thompson and Kate Whitley. Images are from Franklin’s life and work and from Reciprocal Space Collection created by Shelley James. Introduction from Professor Shirley J. Thompson OBE and Jonathan Mayer and David Murphy who are First Hand Records.
THE BAR IS OPEN! (8.10pm*)
You will have to bring your own drinks, but do stay with us to chat with our speakers, composers and artists.
EVENT CLOSES 8.30pm
(all start times are approximate)*
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Rosalind Franklin (1920-58) remains a controversial figure. Since her early death, Franklin has become mythologised as the female victim of male prejudice. According to those versions of the past, James Watson and Francis Crick marginalised Franklin’s original research by taking advantage of her crucial X-ray photograph 51 to build the double helix model of DNA and claim for themselves the Nobel Prize that she should have shared.
Franklin would not have endorsed such exaggerated claims. She regarded herself first and foremost not as a woman, but as a scientist to be judged by her achievements. This particular project occupied a relatively brief period in her successful career: as well as her famous investigations into DNA, she made foundational contributions to modern understandings of coal, graphite and the first ever three-dimensional structures of viruses, publishing nearly forty original articles.
Had she lived longer, Franklin would undoubtedly have maintained and augmented her reputation as a meticulous, innovative scientist.