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10 Unappreciated Geniuses

Rosalind Franklin

We just heard how awful it was to be a gay scientist in mid-20th Century Britain. But did you know it was pretty bad to be a a woman scientist too? Ah, prejudice, how stupid you look in hindsight. This time our hero is Rosalind Franklin, a biophysics genius who landed a prestigious research position at King's College in 1951. But her colleague Maurice Wilkins decided that she was kind of rude, even though he was the one who kept wrongly assuming she was his professional inferior. When she was cautious giving away any details about her work, Wilkins accused her of having an "air of cool superiority" (hypocrite alert!).

Wilkins responded to this imaginary slight by straight-up stealing Franklin's research on the structure of DNA, and giving it to her competitor, James Watson. Watson and his partner Francis Crick, who repeatedly condescended to Franklin, had no problem using her work without crediting her. They went down in history as the interpreters of DNA's double helix structure, despite Franklin's huge contribution to the discovery. Perhaps Franklin would have used her trademark ferocity to tackle the pair, but she tragically died of ovarian cancer at only 37-years-old. Go forth and spread her story, Masterminds.

Tags: science, slideshows, life, geniuses, nikola tesla, thomas edison

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Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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