My tour was changed at the last minute from the manic rush of Windsor, Bath, Stonehenge to the trip which goes to both Oxford and Cambridge. It was a small group in a mini coach so tips were not that good in comparison to what I had originally been allocated but, as I work on a freelance basis, I could hardly complain. Golden Tours obviously have to look after their regulars and contract guides before their freelancers, whether they have a badge or not (see last post).
We had an elderly American couple from Nashville, Tennessee sitting in the front seat and Roy asked me whether we would see ‘the table where they explained DNA’ on the tour. I had no idea what/where this was and have long since learned the tit is better to admit ignorance rather than to bluff. (You get found out.) Fortunately, however, I had arranged for the group to have their free time before visiting King’s College Chapel because it is easier to walk them back to the coach across the Cambridge Backs with views of the punts not he river that way. This meant I had three quarters of an hour to find the table.
There was also a plaque there to Rosalind Franklin, the only female scientist working in this field who was, according to your viewpoint, deprived of the Nobel Prize she deserved or who made a contribution to the work done but not the vital breakthrough that Watson and Crick did. Science is both a collaborative and competitive affair with researchers both inspiring and leaping over each other with many people contributing to major breakthroughs. History, however, likes to keep things simple and only wants one or two heroes to celebrate and Franklin – like several other scientists – was left out of the story. She has, however, had universities and laboratories named after her and even had the privilege of being portrayed by Nicole Kidman in a play I took my scientist daughter to a few years ago.
Anyway Roy saw his table before we went to Oxford and I learned something new. It is a sad day when you do not learn something new in this business.