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NOVA: DNA - Secret of Photo 51 [DVD] [English] [2003]

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Overview

Synopsis

NOVA: DNA - Secret of Photo 51
The discovery of the "double helix" DNA structure by James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins - which won the Nobel Prize in 1962 - ranks as the single most formidable scientific discovery in modern history. Yet in retrospect, the events are bittersweet, for beneath lies buried a tragic irony: Watson, Crick and Wilkins might never have reached their conclusions (or, at least, reached the conclusions as early as they did) without a massive contribution from a crystallographer and molecular biologist named Rosalind Franklin - a contribution that went publicly uncredited and undocumented. Franklin made the fateful decision to share one of her pivotal X-ray photographs of an inner molecular structure to the deputy director of her lab, Wilkins - who then, without Franklin's knowledge, casually revealed the image (known as 'Photograph 51') to Watson and Crick. The photograph led the men directly to the double helix. Tragically, by the time that Watson, Crick and Wilkins received the Nobel, Franklin had died of cancer - without ever grasping her contributions to these events. Now, the episode of the popular PBS series Nova, entitled DNA - Secret of Photo 51, revisits Franklin's contributions and reveals, for the first time, just how dramatic and impacting they were. The program includes interviews with Wilkins; Franklin's PhD student, Raymond Gosling; and Nobel Prize winner Sir Aaron Klug, who delves into Franklin's journals for a revelation of just how close she herself came to making the Watson-Crick breakthrough. The program is based loosely on Brenda Maddox's biography of Franklin, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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