18 December – 1950-1960: Franklin, Flanigen & Cohn
Day 18 of the chemistry advent timeline starts off with Rosalind Franklin, famous for her contributions to determining the structure of DNA. She missed out on a Nobel Prize, as the prizes are not awarded posthumously. As well as this work, the work she started on viruses and protein-nucleic crystal structures also won a Nobel Prize after her death.
Edith Flanigen created ‘molecular sieves’, structures with molecule-sized pores which can be used to separate complex mixtures. They’re now used for a range of applications, including in refining crude oil.
Mildred Cohn overcame gender and religious prejudice to study the reactions that take place in our bodies, refining and developing a number of methods in the process. During her career, she worked with four Nobel Prize winners.