The plaque is situated outside The Eagle pubChris Sampson

A graffitist has added the name of a third scientist to a plaque commemorating Francis Crick and James Watson’s discovery of the structure of DNA, situated outside The Eagle pub.

Rosalind Franklin, to whom the addition refers, is a female scientist often considered to have been unfairly disregarded in her work leading up to the discovery.

The blue plaque, one of 29 in the city honouring famous residents and breakthroughs, reads “For decades the Eagle was the local pub for scientists from the nearby Cavendish Laboratory. It was here on February 28th 1953 that Francis Crick and James Watson first announced their discovery of how DNA carries genetic information.” It was unveiled by James Watson in 2003.

The graffiti, which reads “+ Franklin”, was first identified by Dr. Andrew Caines, a Research Associate in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Caines told Cambridge News he “was just walking past and I noticed the graffiti and took a photo. I knew the plaque was already there, but that was the first time I saw it.”


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In the early 1950s, Rosalind Franklin, alongside scientist Maurice Wilkins, produced photographs of DNA, using X-rays. It was her “photo-51” that James Watson and Francis Crick used to discover the double helix structure of DNA. Crick and Watson, alongside Wilkins, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962, four years after Rosalind Franklin had died of ovarian cancer. Her work is widely considered to be vital to the discovery of DNA.

The Eagle, situated on Bene’t Street, houses a separate plaque honouring Franklin’s contribution inside.

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