Favorite NON-fiction  

Tue Jan 28 06:04:08 PST 2003

>It's a big women's lib thing too. I had an entire course on Women in 
>Science, for example, which I guess was supposed to counter all the lies 
>being told in the other courses. My personal pet peeve is that Watson & 
>Crick discovered the structure of DNA. They stole it from Rosalind 
>Franklin, who died young of ovarian cancer and so never had a chance to 
>raise a big stink.

Um, that's not exactly accurate either, Rachel.

Franklin made important contributions towards the ultimate determination of 
the structure of DNA, including the determination that the sugar-phosphate 
backbone of DNA lies on the outside of the molecule.  She also described the 
*basic* helical structure of DNA.  Nor is there any question that there was 
a lot of dirty dealing. Watson, in particular, has gone to some length to 
deride her essential contributions.

Be that as it may, it was, in fact, Watson and Crick who discovered the 
actual structure of DNA, which is a double-helix and who, properly, deserve 
credit for that work.  This isn't to say that Franklins contributions are 
unfairly overlooked, but that is the nature of scientific celebrity.

I would also note that this sort of scientific in-fighting and backbiting is 
hardly limited to how male scientists treat female collegues.  Science, in 
practice, is often like this.  I can provide you plenty of examples at least 
as egregious where no women were involved.

If you want a better example of the mistreatment of women, in the sciences, 
I would use the example of how Marie Curie was viciously snubbed by the 
Academie des Sciences when she applied for membership to them.

Tired of spam? Get advanced junk mail protection with MSN 8.