Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Women Scientists Crystallographer Chemist By Kathryn Meehan
Dorothy Crowfoot was born in Cairo Egypt over 93 years ago. During this time she had two main influences in her childhood. Her parents were experts in archaeology, and ever since she was young, Dorothy was interested in minerals and crystals.
In the Sudan, Dorothy and her sister enjoyed identifying minerals with a mineral analysis kit. Her love for archaeology continued throughout her life.
Dorothy’s second influence was a book her mom gave her called Concerning the Nature of Things by Sir William Henry Bragg. The book described a modern technique, how scientists used X-rays to “discern the structures of molecules”.
Dorothy also lived in England for a lot of her life and there she went to Somerville college in Oxford. Between college and family archaeological trips, Dorothy almost gave up chemistry for archaeology. But she went on to specialize in crystallography and earned a 1st class honors degree.
In 1934 she photographed the single crystal of pepsin for the first time, while working with J.D. Bernal in Cambridge. Besides getting her P.H.D. she became the first to determine the 3-D structure of a complex bio-organic molecule. In 1937 she married Thomas Hodgkin and had 3 children.
She also worked on penicillin and determined its structure, clearing several misconceptions and establishing a reputation as a noteworthy scientist. Hodgkin became the 3rd woman to be elected to the Royal Society of London.She also mentored several scientists who followed her footsteps and became famous. One example is Jenny Pickworth who helped Dorothy determine the structure of vitamin B12. Dorothy also determined the structure of insulin.
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER! In 1964 Hodgkin won the nobel prize in chemistry.
1965 What is one thing Florence Nightingale and Dorothy Hodgkin have in common? They are the only women who received The Order of Merit, the highest honor civilians could get in the UK.
1994 Dorothy Hodgkin had rheumatic arthritis and as she got older she still remained active in the scientific world although she had to use a wheel chair. Throughout her life Dorothy was not just a scientist but an activist for world peace. She had left a great influence behind her when she died in 1994 and made great contributions- not just to the world of science but to her goal of peace for all nations.