photoDr. Rosalind Franklin, the woman who took the picture that provided James Watson and Francis Crick with the “critical evidence” for their model of DNA, was posthumously awarded an Honorary Horowitz Prize by the Columbia University Medical Center yesterday.  When employed at King’s College London, she worked with x-ray diffraction analysis of DNA and took the picture below, which showed the inner structure of DNA’s double helix.  Her work was shown to Watson and Crick before it was published, so they did not properly cite her in their series of seminal articles published in Nature in 1953. 

dfThe Prize Committee chose to give the Horowitz to Franklin because of her vast contributions to the field of modern biology and so that she could be a role model to young women in science.  Franklin, who died in 1958, was not eligible to receive the Nobel Prize because the award, given to Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins in 1962, is never given posthumously.  The Horowitz was the first major prize awarded to Franklin for her work.

The 2008 Horowitz Prize went to F. Ulrich Hartl, M.D. and Arthur Horwich, M.D. for their collaborative work in understanding the role of protein folding in Alzheimer’s Disease.