Briefings

Rosalind Franklin Selected as Namesake for Mars Rover

New Rochelle, NY, February 8, 2019   — The Rosalind Franklin Society applauds the decision to rename the UK-based Mars Rover ExoMars as Rosalind Franklin, in honor of the British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite.

Rosalind Franklin was selected by the European Space Agency from nearly 36,000 responses received in response to a public call for suggestions. The Rover will be sent to Mars in 2020.

"As founder of the Rosalind Franklin Society, I am so very gratified, as are the members of our founding board, that the United Kingdom, where she made her remarkable discovery, is honoring her in such a magnificent way," said Mary Ann Liebert, Founder of RFS and CEO of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

The Rosalind Franklin Society honors the under-recognized achievements of the late Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), a British x-ray crystallographer whose work producing x-ray images of DNA was crucial in the discovery of its structure by James Watson and Francis Crick. Franklin symbolizes progress for women in science but her accomplishments were not recognized during her lifetime, awarded posthumously, nor are they completely acknowledged today. The Society works to enable women to achieve more tenure-track appointments in academia as well as leadership positions in industry, academia, and government. As these goals are achieved, the Society communicates them to the scientific community and to talented young women to motivate them to pursue science as a profession.

 

RFS Briefings - February 8, 2019

The February 2019 issue of RFS Briefings has some timely and encouraging updates on women in science.

Of note in particular:

2019 Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Biomedical Science, Culinary Arts, Art History, vilcek.org, February 4, 2019

The Vilcek Prizes, awarded to immigrants whose work is of significant value to both their individual fields and to American society at large, were created “to spotlight the critical importance of foreign-born innovation to national advancement.” Two women were among this year’s winners in the biomedical sciences. Angelika Amon, born in Austria, was the recipient of the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science for her groundbreaking research on the molecular signals that regulate cell growth and division, and how errors in these processes contribute to birth defects and cancer. The Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science was awarded to Jeanne T. Paz, born in Georgia (a former Soviet republic), for uncovering the neural basis of epileptic seizures, and for demonstrating possible methods of predicting and arresting seizures. Read more. As you may know, Dr. and Mrs. Vilcek are original and continuing supporters of RFS.

Rosalind Franklin: Mars Rover Named After DNA Pioneer, bbc.com, February 7, 2019

The UK-assembled rover that will be sent to Mars in 2020 has been named for Rosalind Franklin, the DNA pioneer whose X-ray images allowed James Watson and Francis Crick to decipher its double-helix and win a Nobel Prize for this breakthrough. Franklin, who died at age 37, never received the recognition given to her male peers for this discovery not only because of her untimely death but because her role was not fairly acknowledged. Because this six-wheeled vehicle is designed to search for evidence of past or present life on the Red Planet, a name associated with a molecule fundamental to biology seems entirely appropriate. The name was chosen by a UK-led panel who reviewed 35,844 suggestions. Franklin’s sister, Jenifer Glynn, said that “’[Franklin] could never have imagined that over 60 years later there would be a rover sent to Mars bearing her name, but somehow that makes this project even more special.’” Read more. 

Read full issue here.

 

RFS Briefings - January 4, 2019

We are pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on women in science.

Of note in particular:

‘I really don’t know what happened to Jim’” Friends ask where James Watson’s odious attitudes about race came from,’ statnews.com, January 3, 2019
A documentary on biologist James Watson, which aired on January 2 as part of PBS’ “American Master” series, has fueled protests from scientists and others who believe that his decades of sexist and racist comments should be left to rest. How Watson can still believe something rebutted by rigorous research is examined in this article. Read more.

See below for more news about women in science
 Please continue to share important news and opportunities with us so that we may share it with you, and others who are committed to supporting the careers of exceptional women in science. Best wishes for the New Year!

 

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RFS Briefings - November 21, 2018

We are pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on women in science.

As many of you know we hosted an impressive RFS Board Meeting at the Wistar Institute in early November. Videotapes of these presentations will soon be available on our website.
 
See below for more news about women in science
 
Please continue to share important news and opportunities with us so that we may share it with you, and others who are committed to supporting the careers of exceptional women in science.

Read more...
 

RFS Briefings - October 19, 2018

October, 2018 issue of RFS Briefings has some timely and encouraging updates on women in science, particularly:

Thomas A. Steitz, 78, Dies; Illuminated a Building Block of Life
Thomas A. Steitz, PhD, Yale University Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Professor of Chemistry, died October 9 at his home in Connecticut. Described as a "towering figure of late-20th century science," he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2009 for his discovery of the exact size, shape, and position of every atom in the ribosome. This project, which took five years during his tenure at Yale, was a fundamental discovery because of its immediate application to medicine. It led to the understanding of how to find antibiotics that can evade drug-resistant bacteria. Dr. Steitz is survived by his wife of 52 years, Joan Argetsinger Steitz, PhD, Yale, an eminent molecular biologist who received this year's Lasker special achievement award in medical science in September. She is a founding board member of the Rosalind Franklin Society.  

The Gruber Foundation Call for Nominations
The Gruber Foundation invites nominations on behalf of individuals whose achievements in Cosmology, Genetics, or Neuroscience would make them suitable candidates for recognition through the 2019 Gruber International Prize Program. Each prize, which is accompanied by a $500,000 unrestricted monetary award, is designed both to recognize groundbreaking work in each field and to inspire additional efforts that effect fundamental shifts in knowledge and culture. Recipients are selected by a committee of distinguished experts in each field. Nomination forms should be completed and submitted online. Please go to https://gruber.yale.edu/prize-nominations for complete details and access to forms. 

Click here to access this issue of RFS Briefings

 
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