Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A New 50p Coomemorative Coin Honors Roalind Frankln

Environmental & Science Education
History of Science
Edward Hessler

July 20 was what would have been the 100th birthday of Roasalind Franklin. She took what is arguably the most important image ever taken: Photograph 51.

Dr. Franklin is best known for her research into the structure of DNA, research she did while she was at King's College. She died from ovarian cancer aged 37. This cancer was likely caused by her constant exposure to x-rays which were tools in her research.

The Royal Mint in collaboration with King's College released a commemorative 50p coin (63.77 US dollars). The coin is part of the Royal Mint's "Innovation in Science " series.

 "President and Principal of King’s, Professor Ed Bryne said: “As a pioneering scientist at King's College London in 1952, Rosalind Franklin captured 'Photo 51' - the world's most important photograph revealing the secret structure of the DNA molecule which governs heredity. I am delighted that today she has been formally recognised for her ground breaking and wide-ranging work which has allowed and inspired generations of students, scientists and physicists at King's and beyond to delve deeper into biophysics, human heredity and to develop treatments for genetic diseases. This coin represents the broader societal recognition she so richly deserves.”"

The coin was designed by David Knapton, Royal Mint. The press release includes more information, including remarks by Knapton on how he chose the design.  It is lovely and fitting.

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