Rosalind Franklin was born in London on 25th July 1920. She attended St. Paul's Girls' School and became aware of the international political situation when her parents took in two Jewish children from Nazi Germany to live in their home as part of the family. Rosalind shared her room with Evi Eisenstrdter whose father had been sent to Buchenwald a Concentration Camp in Germany.
Rosalind studied chemistry and physics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and in 1942 began carrying out research at the British Coal Utilization Research Association. Over the next four years she helped develop carbon fibre technology.
In 1947 Rosalind went to the Central Government Laboratory for Chemistry in Paris where she worked on X-ray diffraction until 1951 when she moved to King's College, London. Rosalind produced X-ray diffraction pictures of DNA which were published in Nature in April 1953. This played an important role in establishing the structure of DNA.
Rosalind came into conflict with Maurice Wilkins, who was also working on DNA at King's College, and therefore decided to join John Bernal at Birkbeck College to carry out research into the tobacco mosaic virus. In 1957 Rosalind began to work on the polo virus.
Rosalind Franklin died of ovarian cancer on 16th April 1958.