FacebookTwitterYoutubeInstagramGoogle Plus

The Secret Behind the Secret of Life: Facts and Fictions

Friday, June 3, 2011
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

In the 1950s, three labs raced to unravel the structure of DNA. Five decades after the Nobel Prize was awarded for the breakthrough, the contribution of one scientist—Rosalind Franklin—remains controversial. The event was a riveting performance of The Ensemble Studio Theatre Production of Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, directed by Linsay Firman, a historical drama that explores Rosalind Franklin’s electrifying story, followed (in Friday’s performance) by a discussion among three of the men whose lives the play dramatizes—Nobel laureate James Watson, Raymond Gosling, who worked closely with Franklin at King’s College and co-authored one of Franklin’s 3 papers published in ‘Nature’ in 1953, and emeritus professor of biology Don Caspar—illuminating one of science’s most remarkable, influential, and controversial discoveries.

Presented in collaboration with 3-Legged Dog Media + Theater Group, created with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Lynn SherrBroadcast Journalist, Author

Award-winning broadcaster and author Lynn Sherr spent more than thirty years with ABC News, covering a wide range of stories—from women’s issues and social change to investigative reports, politics and the space program—at 20/20 and World News.

Read More


Anna ZieglerPlaywright

Anna Ziegler is a playwright, whose plays have been developed at The Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Stage and Film, and Soho Rep, among others, and are published by Dramatists Play Service. An upcoming collection will be published by Oberon Books. She is a graduate of Yale and holds an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from Tisch.

Read More
Donald CasparStructural Biologist

Donald Caspar is a structural biologist, emeritus professor of biological science at the Florida State University Institute of Molecular Biophysics, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Read More
James WatsonMolecular Biologist, Geneticist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

In 1953, while at Cambridge University, James D. Watson and Francis Crick successfully proposed the double helical structure for DNA.

Read More
Raymond GoslingMedical Physicist

Raymond Gosling pioneered x-ray diffraction research at King’s College London and collaborated closely with Maurice Wilkins in analyzing samples of DNA. Together they produced the first crystalline diffraction photographs at King’s showing an x-pattern of black dots.

Read More