Rosalind Franklin was one of the key figures in the hunt for the structure of DNA, a discovery which changed the course of life science. She was responsible for capturing and interpreting the X-ray images which proved essential in deciphering DNA’s iconic double helical structure. One of the most interesting and overlooked parts of Franklin’s story was how rich and broad her research was. In a career which covered only twelve years, Franklin’s career travelled from work on the structure of coal, a subject in which she was an internationally regarded expert, through DNA, and onto the structure of viruses, in which she would carry out some of her best work.
In this talk, we will look at the life and work of Rosalind Franklin, and at two incredible projects named in her honour, one creating the tools which will allow us to understand human life and health more deeply than ever before, and one searching for the building blocks of like on Mars.
Speakers: Laura Holland, James Naismith and Paul Smith
Laura Holland, Director of Communications at the Rosalind Franklin Institute: Laura will tell the story of Rosalind Franklin’s life and legacy. A science communicator with a background in biology, Laura has worked in communications for over a decade.
Professor James Naismith, Director, The Rosalind Franklin Institute. The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new government funded project. Our role is to create technologies which allow us to see the molecules of life in new ways, helping us to understand human health and disease more deeply than ever before. Jim will highlight some of our key technologies and highlight how they could pave the way to faster, more effective drugs.
Paul Smith, Robotic Exploration Programme Manager, UKSA. The Rosalind Franklin rover will be landing on Mars on 19 March 2021. The rover has been built in the UK with contributions from across Europe. The rover will help us understand the evolution of the Martian environment and in particular to understand when, where and for how long there may have been conditions that could sustain life. There are science instruments on-board that are able to identify the chemical traces of past life in the geological samples. This talk will explain the mission, describing the rover, science instruments and operations.