Had the Women in Science always been the victim of sexism???

“WOMEN IN SCIENCE”- this used to be a controversial statement back then when the evolution of science emerged from the mid 16th Century. Women were barred when the topic “science” came. The world had been ignoring women in science for which we lost so many greater opportunities in the field of innovation and research. But there were plenty of brilliant women in science who broke this illogical rule of women not pursuing anything related to science; who proved that women are not only for housekeeping and when it comes to ideas and innovation the role of gender should be the last consideration. Thanks to those brilliant women scientists and brave allies who made it possible for the women of present to chase their dreams of brilliancy.

Here, we are going to talk about a woman in science who dedicated her life for the success of science but still she didn’t receive any deserved recognition for it and the woman who broke barriers and became the first female Nobel Laureate and she is none other than Rosalind Franklin. Till this moment many of us aren’t aware of the fact that Rosalind Franklin wasn’t only a support for James Watson and Francis Crick. “Plain dressing belligerent scientist” – this how Rosalind Franklin was described by James Watson on his autobiographical account book The Double Helix,  but the truth came out and it is far from his statement. Born on July 25, 1920, Rosalind Elsie Franklin went through many obstacles to walk on the path of her dreams i.e. science. Somehow, she managed to struggle through all of it and won a scholarship to Cambridge and obtained a PhD in chemistry. In 1951, she enrolled in the well reputed King’s College to study the structure of DNA. Franklin was well aware of the environment she was in –  how her colleagues never wanted to be in good terms with her,  but what she didn’t know is that an unfortunate event was going to happen in her life and she was going to be robbed from the credit she deserved for all her hardwork.  In King’s College, there was a co-worker named Maurice Wilkins who was also in the race of discovering the structure of DNA, mistook her for a new secretary and from then their path of interaction became bumpy.  

In 1952, Rosalind took the photo 51- the photograph that changed history. And it is found that Wilkins may have took the photograph and shared it with Watson and Crick without her knowledge – the well known fellow scientists who were also in the run to find the actual structure of DNA. From then, the series of unfortunate events started. Watson and Crick were eventually able to find the actual structure of DNA without doing much research because they already got the required data from Franklin. They discovered the Double Helix Structure of DNA and even won a Nobel Prize at 1962. The journals that were posted only confirmed Franklin’s work as a support or a proof to Watson and Cricks’s discovery. Without knowing this unfortunate event, Rosalind Franklin died in 1958. Now it is up to you if or if not she is robbed from the Nobel Prize and the credit she deserved.

The First female Nobel Laureate- Marie Curie. From getting overlooked in the nomination for Nobel Prize to become the only person to win Nobel in two different sciences. Marie Curie’s ground breaking contribution to science had led to the foundation of many new discoveries and most importantly an open door for the women in science that were deprived and discouraged. Originally named Maria Sklodowska, knew that women weren’t allowed to obtain higher education so she decided to study secretively in The Sorbonne University of Paris. From Poland to Paris it was worth it because there she obtained the degrees in two sciences, i.e. Physics and Mathematics. Paris is also the place where she met her future spouse aka a brilliant physicist Pierre Curie who had achieved fame for his work on the piezoelectric effect. The due carried on their work for science and in 1898 they discovered two new elements- polonium (named after Madam Curie’s birthplace Poland) and Radium (Latin word meaning Ray). For this in 1911 she received a Nobel Prize in chemistry.

 In 1903 , she shared a Nobel with Pierre Curie (then her husband) and Henri Becquerel for the discovery of the phenomenon of radioactivity. Fact to be noted that she was overlooked at first for the nomination but her husband took stand for her hard work and her equal amount of contribution for the discovery. This is how Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in history, and hence a new pathway for women in science opened.

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