Raymond Gosling on Continued Relationship with Rosalind Franklin
  Raymond Gosling     Biography    
Recorded: 03 Mar 2003

… I hadn’t finished writing my thesis, so I disobeyed J.T. who said, you know, she mustn’t work on this. We used to giggle in Birbeck about that because I wanted to show her what I was writing to make sure that it was okay.

But, you know, to give you an example of the sort of person that she was which might surprise Jim. We had to work out from first principles how to correct to the intensity of the structure “A” pattern. Now there is a useful intellectual model. You think of the transform of the molecule is the—in what we call the reciprocal space. So you think of the unit itself moving around, as it does in a fiber diagram, as a rotating crystal. And the diffraction pattern—the diffracted rays arise by the unit cell points cutting the sphere of reflection. So you have a point traveling through a sphere of finite thickness. So it travels in all sorts of directions. So it spends—some points spend longer than others in the reflecting position and you have to work it all out. Now this means you’ve got to use three-dimensional geometry. And I went out and bought lot of navel oranges because we both found it difficult to think of spheres. And we had umpteen of these oranges and we spent one after another peeling these oranges very carefully and trying to imagine, and therefore get down on paper how we would draw and how we use the angles. And we ended up eating the oranges and throwing the orange peel at each other. And she was, you know, this was the sort of person she was. She was very, at times, very relaxed to work with. At other times, of course, we’re all moody. And she could be very proper, but then, you know she was seven or eight years older than me and an established scientist. But I still remember that afternoon, throwing orange peels at each other. And it was great fun!

Raymond Gosling arrived at King’s lab in 1949 to work as a research student. Under the direction of Rosalind Franklin, he helped to perfect the technique of x-ray diffraction photography to obtain the A and B form images of DNA. Gosling met Watson when he arrived in Wilkins’s lab to review DNA diffraction images.

After completing his Ph.D., Gosling left King’s to teach physics at Queens’ College in Cambridge, at the University of St. Andrews, and at the University of the West Indies. He returned to the UK in 1967 to become professor and eventually emeritus professor in Physics Applied to Medicine at the Guy’s Hospital Medical School.

Raymond Gosling has dedicated much of his time researching the elasticity of the arterial system in order to develop tests to monitor one’s risk of stroke and heart attack.