WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

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Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (May 12th, 1910 to July 29th, 1994)

Posted February 19, 2008 12:00 AM by Sharkles

Dr. Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin was a Bio-Chemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964 for her "determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances". Cholesterol, Penicillin, Vitamin B12, and Insulin are some examples of structures she determined using X-ray diffraction techniques.

Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin was born in Cairo, Egypt on May 12th, 1910. Her father was an excavator and a teacher of the classics, working in the Egyptian Education Service and her mother was an expert on early weaving techniques and was also an accomplished botanist. Both of her parents were British expatriates. Dr. Hodgkin spent the first 4 years of her life in Asia Minor, but moved to England to live with relatives during World War I. After the war, Dorothy's mother moved back to England.

Dorothy went to Oxford and Somerville College from 1928-32 and spent her free time away from the University with her parents excavating. For a brief time during her first year, she combined archaeology and chemistry, analyzing glass tesserae from Jerash. After taking a course in crystallography, she decided to do research in X-ray crystallography, working on dialkyl halides. After Oxford, Dorothy attended two years at Cambridge working with J.D. Bernal. In 1934 she returned to Oxford and in 1936 became a research fellow at Somerville College and started to collect money for an X-ray apparatus. Dorothy began researching sterols and other biologically interesting molecules, including insulin. For the next 20 years, living in the University museum, Dorothy and a handful of colleagues studied biological molecules such as insulin, penicillin, and vitamin B12. In 1946 Dorothy took part in meetings, which led to the foundation of the International Union of crystallography.

While getting her research off the ground, Dorothy married Thomas Hodgkin in 1937 with whom she would have three children, two boys and a girl. In 1960, she was appointed Wolfson Research Professor at the Royal Society. In 1964, Dorothy received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her work determining the structure of biological substances using X-ray diffraction techniques. Dorothy died July 29th, 1994 and was survived by her husband and three children.

Resources:
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1964/hodgkin-bio.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Crowfoot_Hodgkin

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#1

Re: Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (May 12th, 1910 to July 29th, 1994)

02/21/2008 4:59 PM

Dr. Hodgkin was also the first scientist to use a computer to solve a biochemical problem. I'm not sure what type of IBM computer that she used, but I've read that it helped her to complete the X-ray calculations for penicillin's structure.

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Re: Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (May 12th, 1910 to July 29th, 1994)

09/22/2010 1:18 PM

hi

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