Bad chemistry

A new play about the discovery of the DNA double helix probes the contributions and character of Rosalind Franklin.

Mary Beth Aberlin
Nov 10, 2010
There's something irresistible about plays that deal with iconic scientific discoveries, especially when controversy surrounds the people who make these finds--just think of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in __Copenhagen__. That play, by Michael Frayn, portrayed seminal discoveries about the structure of the atom made in the early 20th century. The second iconic discovery of that century--the molecular structure of DNA--was every bit as earthshaking, and is the subject of a new play, __Photograph 51__, written by Anna Ziegler.
__Franklin (Kristen Bush) and Donald Caspar
(Benjamin Peltesen) in __Photograph 51____
The drama centers on the story of X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin and her role in elucidating DNA's double-helical structure from 1951 to 1953. James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for this achievement. Franklin died from ovarian cancer in 1958, but had she lived, there is little possibility that she would have been tapped...

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