Article ID: CBB196845423

Florence Bell—the ‘Housewife’ with x-ray vision (2021)


After an award-winning portrayal by Nicole Kidman in a hit West End play, a Mars Rover named in her honour, and recently a commemorative 50 pence coin released by the Royal Mint, Rosalind Franklin's crucial work in the discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA is well recognized. Far less well known, however, is the name of Florence Bell, the crystallographer who first showed that X-ray analysis could be used to reveal the regular, ordered structure of DNA. This paper explores her life and work, the legacy of which is ‘Photo 51’, the famous X-ray image of DNA taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in 1952 that now features on the new 50 pence coin.

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Authors & Contributors
Margrit Shildrick
Abad-Zapatero, Celerino
Walsby, A. E.
Barbujani, Guido
Kurt Plischke
Kostyrka, Gladys
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Social History of Medicine
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Oxford University Press
MIT Press
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Molecular biology
X-ray crystallography
Avery, Oswald Theodore
Franklin, Rosalind
Crick, Francis
Bragg, William Lawrence
Wollman, Eugène
Wollman, Élisabeth
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
United States
Great Britain
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research
University of Manchester
Cambridge University

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