Franklin graduated in 1941 with a degree in natural sciences from Newnham College, Cambridge, and then enrolled for a PhD in physical chemistry at the University of Cambridge. She began her career in aiding the war effort during World War II by investigating the physical chemistry of carbon and coal. From there, she eventually worked with Jacques Mering in Paris studying X-ray diffraction.
Through her efforts in studying X-ray diffraction, she applied the method to studying DNA. At that time, there was little to no information on the structure of DNA. Franklin was able to uncovered the density of DNA and established that the molecule existed in a helical conformation. This in turn later led into another discovery that the DNA, which is widely known now, has a double helix structure.
Through her contribution to researching DNA, she further pursued in studying RNA and eventually discovered the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus.
Photo credit: Encyclopaedia Britannica