Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science

Beaming. Aug. 2022. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781506470658.
Gr 2-4–Rosalind Franklin was born in the 1920s, a time when women scientists were considered to be an anomaly. Despite the obstacles, she followed her dream and eventually earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Cambridge. She is remembered for her contributions to the understanding of the polio virus and especially for her groundbreaking work on X-ray photography of DNA molecules. Her work was not recognized by the male scientists who later went on to win a Nobel prize based in part on her work. Biographies of women scientists are sorely needed, and this one appears to be well researched. However, the text is uneven. The scientific information is presented in occasionally difficult vocabulary that is not defined (e.g., “molecule”). Events in world history are downplayed; Franklin was Jewish, but only one page mentions World War II, a time when “many people were hurt and even killed.” Considering that several male scientists are named in this book, the fact that Franklin’s full name is not mentioned once in either the title or the text seems an omission. Taken together, these make the book an unexceptional treatment of a fascinating person. Includes an author’s note, selected bibliography, glossary of terms, and a time line. All subjects are white.
VERDICT Though this book falls short in several important respects, libraries with larger collections might consider it.

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