Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Women in science: Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin with insulin model. Chemistry

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) was a founder of protein crystallography.

Hodgkin and her mentor, J.D. Bernal, were the first to successfully apply X-ray diffraction to biological crystals. She identified the structures of cholesterol, lactoglobulin, ferritin, tobacco mosaic virus, penicillin, and vitamin B-12. She also described the structure of insulin in 1969, a problem on which she worked for 34 years.

Hodgkin received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1964 for her work on vitamin B-12. Her biography on this Nobel Prize Web site notes, "By choosing projects others considered impossible, she helped to establish one of the characteristic features of contemporary science: the use of molecular structure to explain biological function."

This post was created to mark the second annual Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. Read more about Ada Lovelace Day and women in science here.

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