Welcome to Iowa Public Television! If you are seeing this message, you are using a browser that does not support web standards. This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device. Read more on our technical tips page.

Iowa Public Television



Secret of Photo 51 (#3009)

April 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of one of science's great milestones -- the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. This "cracking" of life's essential molecular "cookbook" was credited to three British scientists, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. But their breakthrough would have been impossible without the work of a brilliant molecular biologist and crystallographer named Rosalind Franklin. In 1962, when the three men were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery, Franklin's name wasn't even mentioned. Tragically, she had died of cancer, four years earlier at age 37. The cancer was probably the result of radiation exposure she suffered while taking the x-ray photographs of the DNA that were directly responsible for decoding its structure. NOVA investigates the life of Rosalind Franklin and her unsung contribution to one of science's greatest discoveries. Through eyewitness accounts and the replication and re-enactments of numerous experiments, viewers will see the tragic story of a brilliant young woman and the male-dominated race to find the scientific secret of life. [56 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
6-8, 9-12
Curricular Areas
Science & Technology
Series Length
440 episodes
Average Episode Length
61 minutes
Record Rights
Record and retain for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
Visit the Website for Teacher Resources

Visit the IPTV Education website to access timely, relevant resources for your classroom.

Series Description: PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA programs demystify science and technology and highlight the people involved in scientific pursuits.

View All Episodes »

All Upcoming Episodes

Past Episodes

These episodes of NOVA aired in the last few months on Iowa Public Television.

View All Episodes »

« Back to Programs A-Z

- display sidebar --->