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April 18, 2003 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

observed at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Franklin, who died at age 37, was mentioned
unfavorably in Watson's book The Double Helix,
published in 1968 to describe the history of his
exploration of DNA. The negative way in which
Franklin was portrayed led others to come to her
defense, with Maddox ultimately among them.
The Maddox book comes 25 years after another
biography, Rosalind Franklin and DNA, written by
Anne Sayre, a good friend of the late scientist.
"It came to my attention that people want to read
about women and they want to read about science
and so Franklin was the logical combination of the
two," Maddox explains about starting the book.
"I've known about her since reading The Double
Helix, and I like having something new to say.
"The Double Helix is given to many college stu-
dents as an example of the way science is done. It's a
brilliant book but very biased and partisan. Watson
didn't take women seriously, and he didn't in that
book.
"I'd like readers not to take The Double Helix as
gospel and realize that women, too, can discover
things in science."
Maddox, interested in probing entire.lives and
personalities, had the cooperation of the Franklin
family and access to personal letters. She learned
that Rosalind Franklin was a very vivid letter writer
and thereby provided important material to incorpo-
rate into biographical text.
The author, who enjoys looking back at the news-
papers and practices of the times about which she is
writing, explains how she believes that part of
Franklin's problems can be ascribed to the young sci-
entist's personality.
If Franklin had done more to get along with
Wilkins, Maddox suggests,
they might have gone fur-
ther on their own in the
tiBRENDA MADDOX
ROSALIND exploration of DNA.
Maddox had to learn
FRANKLIN some science for this proj-
1THE DARK LADY OE DNA
ect and had the help of
her husband, John
Maddox, who had been
editor of Nature. That sci-
entific publication printed
the findings of Watson
and Crick as described by
them 50 years ago, and
the TV program comes
on the anniversary week
"Id like people to remember
of that issue.

Rosalind Franklin as a
co-discoverer of the double
helix (DNA structure),"
says biographer Brenda
Maddox.

Photo 51

"The part of Watson's
story that was left out of
his book is what this docu-
mentary is all about," says Gary Glassman, producer
and writer of Secret of Photo 51. "We're also illumi-
nating the process of science, how it is actually done.
"In the book The Double Helix, there's a sense of
Watson and Crick as heroes, working very inde-
pendently and very creatively on their own and hav-
ing strokes of genius. In fact, the real story is that
they are building on the hard work; patience and

methodical experimentation of others over decades.
"Their genius is that they were able to put it all
together, but it couldn't have been done without the
hard work of so many other people. In the end, they
couldn't have done it without Rosalind Franklin."
Among the scientists who will be discussing
Franklin's work are Sir Aaron Klug, Don Casper and
Vittorio Luzzati. Also interviewed are Raymond
Gosling, Franklin's doctoral student with whom she
made Photo 51, and Wilkins. Sue Richley and Anne
Piper also appear to describe their friendship with
Franklin.
Glassman, whose Providence Pictures makes a
variety of documentaries, got the idea for the pro-
gram when he read a review of the Maddox book.
He thought it would be appropriate for a PBS series
on DNA that was already in progress.
"I approached this as a detective story with clues
found in science," Glassman explains. "We were

very fortunate to have access to Franklin's notebooks
through the courtesy of the Churchill Archives in
Cambridge and, in particular, Aaron Klug."
While the program does offer biographical infor-
mation, it has more of a focus on science than the
book.
"The real legacy of Rosalind Franklin is that she
overcame many obstacles, including gender and reli-
gion, and had many achievements at a time when
very few women were scientists," Glassman says.
"Perhaps recognition of her and her achievements
will inspire other women to be in the field and strive
for great discoveries." ❑

The NOVA documentary Secret of Photo 51 airs
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, and 1 a.m.
Wednesday, April 23, on WTVS-Channel 56.

Channel 56 airs additional programs ofJewish mterest.

letter, written by 011endorff just days before
dying at Thereseinstadt, was lost for nearly 50
years before mysteriously arriving in 1985.
Narrated by Emmy Award winner Martin
Sheen and Academy Award nominee Liv Ullman,
the program complements a book of the same
title published by Pelican ($14.95). The film
B'nai B'rith Presents — Holocaust Memorial
integrates family photos, original interviews and
which
airs
9
p.m.,
provides
an
in-
Center "bur,
archival footage.
depth look at the Michigan museum and is seen
"For years, the letter remained a
through the perspective of sur-
family secret and was shared with
vivors.
only a few relatives and friends," says
Fate Did Not Let Me Go, which
son Stephen 011endorff. "When my
will be broadcast 10 p.m., tells the
father died in 1998, our family per-
story of a farewell letter written by
mitted our rabbi to read the letter at
a woman about to be killed by the
the eulogy.
Hitler regime.
"The letter's impact was so great
David Kahan, a survivor now
that we realized it was much more
president of B'nai B'rith's Einstein
than a private letter. The letter could
Lodge, narrates the tour of the
inspire all people who read it."
West Bloomfield center, the first
The 011endorff family created the
freestanding Holocaust museum in
nonprofit 011endorff Center for
the United States. He will be
Valli 011endorff
Religious and Human Understanding
joined by Rabbi Charles
to promote tolerance and has developed a school
Rosenzveig, the center's founder and executive
discussion guide to assist educators in sharing the
director.
story with students.
The tour features displays, artifacts and
—Suzanne Chessler
archive photography that bring viewers face to
face with the, murder of 6 million Jews and the
destruction of more than 5,000 European Jewish
communities from 1933-1945," says Marsha
B'nai Brith Presents — Holocaust Memorial
Rofel, B'nai B'rith regional community rela-
Center Tour airs 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, on
tions/program director.
WTVS-Channel 56. For information, call
"The center documents the horrors of that
(248) 646-3100 or go to vvvvw.bbinet.org .
period plus the events leading up to it."
Fate
Did Not Let Me Go will be broadcast 10
Produced by Steve and D.D. Fisher of A.A.A.
p.m. Tuesday, April 22, on WTVS-Channel
Productions, the program is available on video.
56. For more information, call (800) 723-
Fate Did Not Let Me Go tells the story of Valli
9479 or go to www.fatedidnotletmego.org .
011endorff, who writes a last letter to her son
and makes a strong impact on her family. The

osalind Franklin was raised in a family
that had a strong commitment to
Judaism, and she joined a group to aid
refugees trying to escape the Nazis. Two programs
that follow Secret of Photo 51 will explore the
mood of those times.

R

4/18
2003

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