Photo 51 – Deciphering the X-ray Diffraction Photo of DNA
This seminar will teach students the details of their scientific lineage. The professor of this course published with Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, and Crick can trace his scholarly lineage back to Sir Lawrence Bragg, Nobel Prize winner for Physics (1915), who is responsible for the Bragg law of X-ray diffraction. We will learn about the Bragg equation and simplify it so we can use it to decipher Photo 51. Students will measure parameters from Photo 51 and then re-derive the structure of DNA. An exciting hands-on component of the class will include a lab exercise where students use laser diffraction to determine molecular structure.