Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born on July 15, 1920 in London, England. She was educated at one of the only girls schools with classes in physics and chemistry. When she was 15, Rosalind decided to become a scientist, but her father wanted her to become a social worker. Nonetheless, she entered Newnham College in Cambridge in 1938, and graduated in 1941.
In 1942, Rosalind worked at the British Coal Utilization Research Association studying carbon and graphite microstructures. In 1945, she earned her doctorate in physical chemistry from Cambridge University.
From 1947 to 1950, Rosalind worked at the Laboratoire Central des Services Chimiques de L'Etat in Paris, where she learned techniques in X-ray diffraction. Then, in 1951, she returned to England and worked in the lab at King's College in Cambridge. It was there that she was given the responsibility for the DNA project, and she worked somewhat awkwardly with Maurice Wilkins.
Rosalind almost cracked the DNA code, but Wilkins gave some of her DNA pictures to James Watson and Francis Crick, and they solved it. Rosalind moved to a lab at Birkbeck College where she studied the tobacco mosaic virus and the polio virus.
In 1956, Rosalind became sick with ovarian cancer and died on April 16, 1958 in London, England from the cancer. Four years after her death, Maurice Wilkins, Francis Crick, and James Watson received a Nobel Prize for the discovery of Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA). There is a lot of controversy over how much Rosalind contributed, but it has been agreed that she did contribute enough so that she should have some credited to her.