In the second release in our fascinating Innovation in Science series, we mark what would have been Franklin’s 100th birthday with a commemorative 50p coin. Available in limited-edition gold Proof, silver Proof and silver Proof Piedfort, as well as a Brilliant Uncirculated edition, it acknowledges her immense contribution to advancing humanity’s cause.
Rosalind Franklin’s brilliant mind and tireless dedication enabled breakthroughs in multiple fields. Best known today for her research into DNA, Franklin was a world authority on the chemical structure of viruses, as well as coal and graphite. Tragically she died of ovarian cancer aged just 37, denying her the awards and recognition that would surely have come during her lifetime.
Inspired by the historical injustice of the failure to credit Franklin’s role in determining the structure of DNA, Royal Mint graphic designer David Knapton uses the printing techniques of the era to restore her rightful legacy. By including her name in the design along with Photograph 51, the groundbreaking image she captured with Raymond Gosling of the building blocks of life, he places Franklin at the heart of the DNA story. It’s a fitting tribute to a scientist who was instrumental in enabling one of the greatest discoveries of the twentieth century.