Re: More Coon et al

Peter D. Junger (junger@PDJ2-RA.F-REMOTE.CWRU.EDU)
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 08:39:01 -0500

Ruby Rohrlich writes:

: Second, When people talk about Watson and Crick, they tend to omit
: Rosalind Franklin, from whose work they found the basic structure of the
: DNA molecule. And the reason they forget her is the vicious picture of
: her in Watson's book, The Double Helix. Make of this last statement what
: you will. Ruby Rohrlich

The last statement does not explain why I, when I talk of Watson and
Crick, don't mention Rosalind Franklin. When I am talking about
Watson and Crick I am inevitably talking about the development of a
model--a theory--not about the crystalographic evidence that supported
the model and probably made it possible to develop the model or the
theories of competitors of Watson and Crick, like Linus Pauling, which
were disclosed to Watson and Crick by questionable means.

And if I talk about Watson and Crick at all, rather than talking about
the accepted model of DNA, it is because of Watson's rather remarkable
book. A book that one would think would give anthropologists an
unusual insight into how at least one scientist viewed his own

And if I remember Rosalind Franklin at all, it is because of the
``vicious'' picture of her in Watson's book. (I have, of course, no
way of judging how accurate or vicious or flattering that description
is.) As far as I know, Rosalind Franklin is the only crystalographer
whose name I remember, and--unlike most people--I have actually met
some crystalographers.

Frankly, I suspect that there are far more people who ``forget''
Rosalind Franklin because they never heard of her or who, even if they
have read the Double-Helix, never bothered to notice her name. And I
see no reason why those of us who have heard of her, and who remember
her name (or at least recall it when we see it), should talk about her
when we talk about Watson and Crick any more than we talk about
what's-his-name who shared their Nobel prize and in whose lab Rosalind
Franklin did her work.

It is a weird model of human behavior that postulates that one forgets
someone _because_ of a vicious description of that person.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH