Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rosalind Franklin and DNA” as Want to Read:
Rosalind Franklin and DNA
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rosalind Franklin and DNA

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In this classic work Anne Sayre, a journalist and close friend of Franklin, puts the record straight.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 17th 2000 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1975)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rosalind Franklin and DNA, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rosalind Franklin and DNA

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
OK, so it's probably a little biased because it's clear that the author was close friends with Ms Franklin, but nonetheless, it painted a very interesting picture of the woman who made many contributions to the scientific field, and who alas, received very little recognition for her work. Certainly James Watson who wrote [The Double Helix] appeared to discredit Ms Franklin almost every time he mentions her, even going so far as giving her a diminutive nickname of 'Rosy'.

This book attempts to not
Gabrielle Gouch
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sayre’s book is an essential contribution to the history of the discovery of DNA.

I read James Watson’s The Double Helix about two decades ago. His version of how the structure of DNA was discovered seemed to me so unlike the scientific research I was engaged in. Yes, I used to be a research scientist, I am now a writer.

The scientific research I was familiar with was more the sort Rosalind Franklin was doing. I never met or heard of such happy go lucky geniuses as James Watson and Francis Crick,
Michael Connolly
Jul 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, biography
The three main scientists who discovered the structure of DNA were Jim Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin. Rosalind Franklin was the experimentalist, who used X-ray diffraction of fibers of DNA to determine that it was helical. Francis Crick determined that there were two helices, and that they ran in opposite directions. Jim Watson discovered the base pairings based on hydrogen bonds. Since Franklin died of cancer before the Nobel prize was awarded, and since there is a rule forbiddin ...more
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
So the basic premise here--- is that the author feels that Watson was a total jerk about Rosalind Franklin in his book "The Double Helix". When I read the Double Helix, I thought this myself, even though I did not know much about her--- beyond the fact that she took some xray pics that let us know DNA forms a double helix.

I suppose the authors had an important message to put out there in the world--- and I think as a result Franklin has gotten more props in the textbooks of today's generation.
Kristi Thielen
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Franklin is a fascinating woman and the passage of time has only increased interest in how she may/may not have been cheated out of recognition for research she did on DNA. But I’m not certain this book is the best one to read to learn about her or that controversy.

Sayre’s work was published in 1975 and cannot help but be dated to a contemporary reader. When originally published, she took criticism for making Franklin seem “too much of a feminist” when she was not; by today’s standards Sayre’s
Rashed Al Shamsi
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to write my review as soon as I completed reading this book. I got to say that Rosalind Franklin can be a source of motivation during my working career! Being "sunk up" in DNA means viewing every angle of it. So I choose to read the pioneers behind this Complex yet Organized Molecule. Although I got to say that the author might seem to be very close to Rosalind, I preferred to have a decent judgment on the case mentioned in the book. Well she acheived it! They way she spread the facts a ...more
David Meyer
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I generally enjoy any book about the history of important events in science, and this book was set up to be more interesting then most. The book is written by a friend of Rosalind Franklin, years after Franklin has died. It was published in 1975 and written around events that took place in the early 1950s. Sayre uses the book to stand up for her late friend's career, and to try to set the record straight about all of the accomplishments she made that were credited to others. The book has a clear ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
When I was an undergraduate, Rosalind Franklin was never mentioned in discussions about the structure of DNA. Yet the x-rays of the molecule which she produced were essential to the work of Watson and Crick. The EXCUSE that has been used was the Nobel Prize has never been awarded posthumously and unfortunately she died young. Furthermore, Maurice Wilkins, was given credit for the work she performed. I believe the real problem at the time was the male dominated field of science and the male view ...more
Bill Daniels
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a DNA freek (where would I be without it?), I am fascinated with the research and researchers that figured out the elegant structure. Rosalind Franklin did some amazing work in producing crystallographs of the molecule.

She worked with chauvinist, dismissive men in the early '50s. She was a difficult person in her own right. She died before the Nobel Prize was awarded. It is challenging to consider whether she would have been named on the three person team if she lived.

Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Anne Sayre sets the record straight and provides a brief biography of her friend Rosalind Franklin.

Franklin is given due credit for her part in the discovery of the shape and structure of DNA. Sayre also rebukes the absurd stereotypes about Franklin that are found in the popular book Double Helix, which was written by the very man who heavily relied on her unpublished research, and took credit for all the work.
Thomas A Wiebe
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a good biography of the experimental physicist Rosalind Franklin by her friend Anne Sayre, but the subsequent book by Brenda Maddox, The Dark Lady of DNA is much better. Sayre had real difficulty separating her feelings about her friend from a more careful assessment of Franklin's role in the discovery of the structure of DNA.

See my review of The Dark Lady of DNA.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: life-science
I am so frustrated that I can only find one biography on this great scientist. This is a small book and it is not the most absorbing read but I am grateful that someone has chosen to write her story.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
An excellent read for fans of DNA and scientists...and a good shot at men who rip off and then disparage women scientists. I'm looking at you, James.
Henry Howe
rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2015
Sondra Christman
rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2017
Robert Wallace
rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2013
rated it liked it
Nov 14, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2010
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2013
rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2017
rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2012
rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2008
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2011
Amber Shields
rated it liked it
Feb 08, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2012
rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2011
rated it really liked it
Apr 16, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Dec 28, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA
  • Joan of Arc: In Her Own Words
  • The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science (Women Writing Science)
  • 36 Children
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
  • Joan of Arc: Her Story
  • Destroying the Joint: Why Women Have to Change the World
  • She Was Nice To Mice: The Other Side of Elizabeth I's Character Never Before Revealed by Previous Historians
  • I Want to Be a Mathematician: An Automathography
  • Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America's First Female Rocket Scientist
  • Charles Darwin: The Power of Place
  • Microbe Hunters
  • George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker
  • With All My Heart
  • A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change
  • Maps of the Mind
  • Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life
  • The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints