​The BSHS, Britain’s leading community of scientific historians, has conducted a poll to decide who should be pictured on the new £50 bank note.  The great majority of both men and women wanted to see this honour go to a woman – and their top choice was Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-58), who has come to symbolise gender discrimination in the scientific world. This brilliant scientist died of cancer when she was only 37, and so was ineligible to share the Nobel Prizes awarded to men working on the same projects. She was responsible for the crucial X-ray photograph that enabled James Watson and Francis Crick to build their double helix model of DNA, and she worked closely with Aaron Klug on the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus. In her short life, she published almost thirty research articles, and would undoubtedly have maintained and augmented her high reputation as a meticulous and innovative researcher.


An early list of eligible candidates has been released by the Bank of England, and public nominations remain open until 15th December 2018.