Her Hidden Genius

A Novel

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Pub Date 25 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 25 Feb 2022
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark


From the New York Times bestselling author of THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE and THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM

Rosalind Franklin has always been an outsider—brilliant, but different. Whether working at the laboratory she adored in Paris or toiling at a university in London, she feels closest to the science, those unchanging laws of physics and chemistry that guide her experiments. When she is assigned to work on DNA, she believes she can unearth its secrets.

Rosalind knows if she just takes one more X-ray picture—one more after thousands—she can unlock the building blocks of life. Never again will she have to listen to her colleagues complain about her, especially Maurice Wilkins who'd rather conspire about genetics with James Watson and Francis Crick than work alongside her.

Then it finally happens—the double helix structure of DNA reveals itself to her with perfect clarity. But what unfolds next, Rosalind could have never predicted.

Marie Benedict's powerful new novel shines a light on a woman who sacrificed her life to discover the nature of our very DNA, a woman whose world-changing contributions were hidden by the men around her but whose relentless drive advanced our understanding of humankind.

From the New York Times bestselling author of THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE and THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM

Rosalind Franklin has always been an outsider—brilliant, but different. Whether working at the...

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ISBN 9781728229393
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Featured Reviews

Her Hidden Genius brings an intense historical woman whose high standards of ethics and drive to serve for betterment of humankind were instilled in her childhood and carried her to one of the greatest discoveries in scientific world, thus, influencing the humanity. France, 1947. Rosalind Franklin is a new researcher at chemistry institute in Paris. As a woman researcher, she felt discrimination in her native England. That’s why she welcomed this opportunity to be working in Paris where male-minds seem to be much more open toward female scientists. Using a somewhat new scientific approach, the institute hopes to make further discoveries in molecular worlds, which further can serve a purpose for humanity. With her skills and the institute’s methods, they hope to find the ultimate purpose. While enjoying her research, she also enjoys the openness and friendliness with other colleagues, which she lacked in England. She receives an invitation to have her research published in one of the most esteemed scientific journals and attend a scientific conference for which she is grateful. She just doesn’t know if that might be a cause of jealousy. With certain reason, she returns to England, even though she thought she’d stay in Paris forever. In England, unexpectedly an opportunity presents for her to be working on uncovering the structure of DNA. But there are others who want to be the first to map the structure of DNA and to have a claim to what she has just discovered. Will old alliances prevail or will the promise of this research given to her be kept? I enjoyed this heroine very much for whom the solitude of the scientific life appeals. The work as a scientist excites her despite being forced to change positions a few times due to toxic atmosphere. She comes from an affluent family, where women were encouraged to be well-educated and to use their intellectual gifts for the betterment of mankind. Pursuit of pure science is not necessarily what her family had in mind. It’s more through such work as charity. But she follows her heart. She knows herself better than anyone else and she knows that life of submission to men is not something that would make her happy. The life of science gives her freedom, which fits her perfectly. Written with crisp prose, the novel brings informative descriptions of the scientific progress in identifying the structure of DNA, including the famous photo 51. It gives a good picture of heroine’s scientific progress, but it does not overwhelm the story. We also get to know the brilliant heroine who is much disciplined, working many hours and determined to achieve something for betterment of humankind. The time period she lived in while trying to be a female scientist is well-presented. As with her other novels, Marie Benedict continues to shine a light on women whose talents were hidden by male dominated world. Women whose discoveries brought one of the greatest contributions to humankind and whose stories deserve to be told.

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