Sunday, November 18, 2018

There is little to report. My personal trainer has set me to keeping an exercise diary for her inspection, and at least, today, I can say that I walked down to the weekly farmers’ market in Stockbridge with Helen and David. Rachel and her daughter Hellie and (I think) her daughter Orla are coming to see me in December. I bought some mutton to slow-cook for them. And some rather luscious-looking French garlic.

But no knitting. And I’m not sure I’m strong enough for any this evening. Maybe I’ll retreat to the kitchen and a book, as so often – on with Fuschia Dunlop’s food autobiography mentioned yesterday. She writes awfully well.

Chris (comment yesterday), “outraged” because I thought that the white men had been airbrushed from the story of the discovery of the double helix for being men, and white. If you are right that the cables on the IK sweater represent Franklin’s guess, then I’m altogether wrong. I thought her remarkable photographs were as far as she got. Watson and Crick got it wrong on their first attempt to model it, as I remember. (And some Americans were pressing on their heels. Who? If it hadn’t been Watson and Crick, someone would have got to the double helix soon. It was the big 20th century discovery waiting to happen.)


  1. Hi Jean, I think very few scientific breakthroughs are the work of just a couple of people, so all I meant to say is that it's as valid to recognize Rosalind Franklin's contribution to the discovery as it is to recognize James Watson's. If I remember correctly, Franklin and her assistant Raymond Gosling crystallized strands of DNA and X-rayed them. This was a real technological feat at the time. The crystallography data indicated certain things, like the structure was helical and the phosphates had to be on the outside. Watson and Crick were constructing a model with phosphates on the inside, and when he saw her data, Watson knew immediately that his initial model was wrong. Together with data from Chargaff (was he in the States?) about the chemical composition of DNA, et voila: double helix, base pairing--it all clicked into place, made sense, and I suppose seemed completely obvious, where until that moment it had not been clear at all to anyone.

    Surely you are right that someone else soon would have synthesized all the information and come up with the double helical model, if it hadn't been Watson, Crick and Wilson. Perhaps that would not have been Franklin, (didn't she go on to work on structures of viruses, before her untimely death?) but still she had made an important contribution.

    What fun to find another knitter with a keen interest in these things!

  2. This conversation sent me down the Ravelry rabbit hole to find June Oshiro's pre-Ravelry DNA scarf, and found a baby's first DNA toy pattern. Knitters are so clever! And Jean, my acupuncturist is always cautioning against too much raw food. I generally ignore it, especially in the summer.

  3. I don't know what your trainer wants in your diary but it seems to me that a note of how you felt during and after the walk might be helpful to both of you.

    It should give both of you an idea of how you are progressing.