USC Upstate News

USC Upstate’s “Women In …” Series Continues With The Dark Lady of DNA: Women in Science

03- 01- 2009

Spartanburg, S.C. - In 1962, three male scientists, Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins, shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the three-dimensional structure of DNA. This has been heralded as one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the twentieth century.  But it was Rosalind Franklin, their competitor and renowned female x-ray crystallographer, whom they had to thank for the data that led to their breakthrough. For many years, her contributions to one of the most important scientific discoveries to date went largely unacknowledged.

Jeannie ChapmanIn celebration of Women’s History Month, the University of South Carolina Upstate’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies is sponsoring a discussion on the biography of Franklin written by Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, on Wednesday, March 18 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. in the Campus Life Center, room 317 The open discussion will be led by Dr. Jeannie Chapman, assistant professor of biology at USC Upstate.

“Women have made many groundbreaking advances in the world of science,” says Dr. Chapman, “but some have not received the recognition they deserve.” She adds that “Franklin’s story is a riveting story – a tale of scientific ethics, gender bias, and tragically skewed history --  and it brings to mind the broader question of women’s roles in the history of science.”

The “Women in …” lecture series examines women's experiences in various cultural contexts, showcasing faculty research interests and local professionals who work with women in our community. Each session is an informal presentation followed by discussion. The events are free and open to the public.

This forum is one of a series of four “Women in…” discussions to be held throughout the 2008-2009 academic year sponsored by USC Upstate’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Dates, times and topics for the series can be found on the Web at

For more information about the “Women in …” series, or the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, contact Dr. Lisa Johnson, director, or call her at (864) 503-5724.