The story behind DNA’s double helix

The notorious race to uncover the structure of DNA, the molecule of inheritance, began in 1951, when American biologist James Watson  arrived at the University of Cambridge. Here he met Francis Crick, an English physicist and the two began building scale models to test their ideas of what DNA’s appearance might be.

Meanwhile, two scientists at King’s College London called Maurice Wilkins  and Rosalind Franklin were also studying DNA. They were attempting to crystallise the molecule to make an x-ray pattern of it. They hoped this would provide important clues about its structure.

Although the two institutions were effectively competing against each other, Francis Crick (University of Cambridge) and Maurice Wilkins (King’s College London) communicated regularly. Letters sent from Wilkins to Crick reveal their close personal relationship.

It was Rosalind Franklin’s famous x-ray image, nicknamed ‘Photo 51’, that finally revealed the structure of DNA in May 1952. The pattern appeared to contain ‘rungs’, like those on a ladder, set between two strands. The fuzzy “X” pattern indicated DNA’s helix shape. In early 1953, Wilkins showed Watson the image, seemingly without Franklin’s knowledge.

Full story here


Rosalind Franklin Scientist Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a 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 Born: July 25, 1920, Notting Hill, United Kingdom Died: April 16, 1958, Chelsea, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, United Kingdom

graphicalcapitalist asked:

Are you still doing that Homestuck AoS? I think I purposely necroed the sc2mapster thread but I was just curious since I had a similar idea.

Ah, the Starcraft 2 Homestuck AoS.  The info on the SC2Mapster subforum for it is probably really outdated!

(An AoS, FYI, is a game with a gameplay type resembling DotA, Heroes of Newerth, League of Legends, and the numerous lookalike games that have spawned thereof. The genre started as a Warcraft 3 custom map, and Starcraft 2 custom maps make AoS-style multiplayer games (relatively) easy to craft for programmers.)

Our mapper/developer wasn’t able to stick to the project during the initial run, and let the thing stagnate. (I might have too, I don’t recall, so take any blame I place with a grain of salt?) I used to be the primary cheerleader for the project, but since he let it fall inactive, even when he’s approached me with offers to restart it, I wasn’t willing to put my limited energy behind & cheerlead something - put my name behind it - if I knew it had died at least once.

I’m still interested in the idea, though, and if he resumed work on it again, I’d still help! I like to think I’m pretty good at spell ideas, things that fit characters, game design ideas in general, et cetera. He even offered to restart it several times, and we had some un-finalized ideas for heavily revising the character skillsets (and integrating information we’d learned about how the kids’ and trolls’ roles work), but it didn’t get off the ground.

Here’s the problem:  Even if BioPhysicist (our mapper) had fresh dedication (which I’d like, since his vision of the game matches mine), it is impossible for him to start up without a project cheerleader. Someone to recruit and promote interest in the AoS, generate and stimulate the general flow of ideas, get people posting about it and discussing it in group Pesterchum chats and IRC, et cetera! The entire project has to be a living, active group effort, and the only way to make it into that is for a cheerleader who believes in the project to lead the crowd with a megaphone while the mapper or mappers work.

However, even if a new mapper joins in to make this a reliable team effort and things start to take off, I wouldn’t have the energy and enthusiasm to be project cheerleader again.

If the Homestuck AoS is ever going to be a thing, we’d need:

  1. A new project cheerleader willing to spend lots of time and effort gathering members and promoting discussion of the systems and hero skillsets. Preferably, they’d know their shit in detail about both Homestuck and AoS-style abilities/gameplay, but that’s mainly because the best way to promote activity and discussion of the game is getting people to help hash out parts of it, skillsets and ideas. (And to talk about the current state of the game plan in excited detail!) In my limited experience, anyway. Without an effective project cheerleader, little to no progress would be made!
  2. One or more new mappers to work alongside BioPhysicist if he’s still interested, or work in lieu of him if he can’t be contacted. (BioPhysicist had experience making an AoS, making him an attractive candidate from the start, FYI, but I wouldn’t be extremely confident in the project if it relied on his dedication alone.)

I can’t pass on messages to BioPhysicist right now - I haven’t seen him online in ages, and his last SC2Mapster login is February 22nd - but uh; I guess there’s food for thought? If the project ever gets started again, I’d love to take a crack at some more hero skillset rewrites! :)

Today on Google:
Happy Birthday Rosalind Franklin!
Born: July 25, 1920, Notting Hill
Died: April 16, 1958, Chelsea, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a 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.

Der Lech river around Kinsau. Kinsau is a municipality in the Landsberg district in Bayern (Bavaria), Southern Germany. In 1180 the lands east of the Lech river fell to the Wittelsbach dynasty of Bavaria; the lands on the western bank were acquired around 1315. Landsberg am Lech is located about 65 km west of Munich and 35 km south of Augsburg. The town is known for its prison where Adolf Hitler was incarcerated in 1924. During this incarceration, he wrote/dictated his book “Mein Kampf” together with Rudolf Hess. His cell, number 7, became part of the Nazi cult and many followers came to visit it during the Nazi-period. Landsberg also is the birthplace of the Nobel laureate Erwin Neher (born 1944), the German biophysicist.

justintimbertape asked:

Hi! I really love this blog and appreciate how helpful you are :)) What careers are the best if I want to be by myself a lot? I'm not a big people person so I'd like a job where I don't have to interact with others a lot. Thanks!!!!

You’re speaking my language!

According to Forbes, here are the 10 best jobs for introverts:

  • Astronomer 
  • Geoscientist
  • Social media manager
  • Film/video editor
  • Court reporter
  • Archivist
  • Industrial machine repairer
  • Financial clerk
  • Medical records technician
  • Animal care and services worker

The Richest adds more:

  • Financial analyst
  • Biochemist/biophysicist
  • Materials engineer
  • Marine engineer/naval architect
  • Actuary
  • Mathematician
  • Political scientist
Back to serious business

Episode XIX

Winter break is over, which, unlike the weather back home, wasn’t quite wintery, and I’m back to Keck of USC, and I officially joined a lab for my master’s training at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, which is a top-notch state-of-the-art research institute at USC, I manged to get that position, which wasn’t easy, and I got the chance to work with three PI’s (Principal Investigators) who are collaborating o a big research project. My assigned mentor is the awesome MD, PhD Biophysicist Robert Chow, the lab director is MD, PhD Neurogeneticist James Knowles, and my direct supervisor is a Russian PhD, ScD geneticist whose name is Oleg Evgrafove or something! and I will be working on some complicated stuff you don’t need to bother knowing its details…Just kidding, I just don’t exactly know what I’m working on, it’s just some complicated Neuroscience crap!

I’m taking two classes in addition to this: Physiology (less than ten students in a conference room with a professor and a very intense MD-level systems physiology) and Protein Chemistry, which is also pretty detailed.

My working station!

For those who are familiar with biotechnology, this lab has three Illumina HiSeq NGS platforms, which cost over $750,000 each, in addition to other sequencers and robotic machines which you can hardly find any. if at all, in the entire kingdom of Jordan.

This is a funny professor in protein chem class, he’s so cool and simple and nerdy, so I thought of taking a picture for him!

I wanted to post that before but I was super busy lately and I can barely follow up with my classes, But today I had a day that I think I should talk about, so I’m posting this.

As I mentioned, I currently work in this neurogenetics/ Molecular Neurosciences lab, and I just started actually doing hands-on lab work. And here comes the interesting part, my colleague, who was teaching me this new technique, opened up the topic of creationism vs. evolution out of the blue, and probably intentionally to see what my views about it are. We talked and talked and, as expected, the conversation moved to talking about religion, but it was friendly and nice. We finished the experiment successfully and went up back to the lab and I found myself involved in another conversation with other colleagues and I really didn’t want to spend more time because I had to leave early to spend some hours studying before I get to sleep, which I eventually didn’t.

They were talking about a pull-up challenge and somehow got me into it. Then we started discussing the terms of this contest and whether there’s a gambling in it or not, then the conversation turned to diet, then to fasting, then to Ramadan then to ISIS, then to Islam, then to religion and God’s existence in general, and it took us an entire hour talking about that.

I don’t deny that it was kind of fruitful to me, and maybe to them, but I just didn’t expect it and although I was careful and honest at the same time, I thought it would have been better.

When you encounter such situations you learn a lot about the world views of people from different backgrounds: White Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Mixed ethnicity, and yes it matters, Russians, Chinese, Koreans, and so on. This teaches you that it’s not as simple as you may have thought, and one day you and what you stand for will be challenged by different people in different situations and you’d better be ready when this comes.

Rice University biophysicists Eshel Ben-Jacob and José Onuchic reveal how cancer uses notch-signaling pathways to turn good cells bad