Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This often laborious biography of an early female scientist chronicles her struggles to achieve her potential in a male-dominated world. Born in England in 1920 to a traditional but well-to-do family, Rosalind Franklin, an obstinate but talented child, struggled against the prevailing attitudes of the role of women even in her own family. Gifted in science, she managed to earn advanced degrees in physics from Cambridge University against her father's wishes. Opportunities for women in research were rare but she secured a position doing coal research in England for the war effort. Her ups and downs both professionally and personally over the next fifteen years reveal Rosalind's quirky personality and her talent as a researcher. The second half of the biography deals in much detail with her efforts in x-ray crystallography, which led to the discovery by Watson and Crick of DNA mapping. Watson and Crick went on to win a Nobel Prize for their efforts without giving credit to Franklin for her early efforts. Franklin died in 1958 of cancer at age thirty-seven. The long ,detailed account of conflicts Franklin had with other researchers is overkill for most young readers. Their ability to understand the discussion on DNA research or their lack of interest in it may cause only the most dedicated reader to stick with this story. Occasional period photographs and drawings accompany the story.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up
Although many people associate the names Watson and Crick with the discovery of DNA, few know that Franklin took the photograph that led the two men to their conclusions. Written in an easy-to-read manner, this book highlights her personal and professional struggles, and readers interested in the history of science will marvel at how such a huge player in the discovery of the double helix could have been overlooked. Black-and-white and color pictures complement the text, and some of them illustrate scientific concepts. The book is carefully annotated, has a detailed index, and includes helpful Web sites. A fine addition to large science collections.
Delia CarruthersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.