In his latest New Yorker piece The Truth Wears Off, Jonah Lehrer directs our attention to the lack of reproducibility of results in scientific research. The problem is pervasive, he says: …now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed finding have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims […]
Franklin’s story starts like this: She was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in London. She excelled in math and science. She studied physical chemistry at Cambridge, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1941. After performing research in photochemistry in the following year on scholarship, she joined the British Coal Utilisation Research Association (BCURA) and carried out basic investigations on the micro-structure of coal and carbon compounds, and so earned a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. She was a polyglot, and next found herself in Paris at the Laboratoire Central des Services Chimique de l’Etat, where she picked up some fine skills in x-ray crystallography.
You get the picture: she was smart, well-educated and totally immersed in physical chemistry before, during and after WWII. Single-minded and focused, you might say –
…This goes well beyond a new approach to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
This story, largely based in genomics and computational advances, reflects the power of the human mind, how the gifted son of two mathematicians who fell into a particular medical situation, can use his brains, intellectual and financial resources, and creativity, to at least try to make a difference.
“One of the ways that I gained the trust of the family is that I gave them information.” (R. Skloot, a journalist, speaking about her interactions with Henrietta Lacks’ family, Columbia University, 2/2/10)