Google is celebrating the 104th birthday of Dorothy Hodgkin, renowned British biochemist, who is credited with the development of protein crystallography.
Dorothy Hodgkin was born Dorothy Mary Crowfoot on 12 May 1910 in Cairo, Egypt, to parents John Winter Crowfoot, archaeologist and classical scholar, and Grace Mary Crowfoot nee Hood. Dorothy spent first four years of her life in the English expatriate community in Egypt, returning to England only a few months each year. After World War I, her mother decided to stay home in England for one year and educate her children.
Encouraged by her mother, Dorothy Crowfoot developed a passion for chemistry from a young age. At age 18 she started studying chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford. She studied for a PhD at the University of Cambridge under the guidance of John Desmond Bernal. This is where she discovered the potential of X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of proteins, working with Bernal on the technique's first application to analysis of a biological substance, pepsin.
In 1937, Dorothy married Thomas Lionel Hodgkin, and took his last name.
Dorothy Mary Hodgkin advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. In 1945, working with C. H. (Harry) Carlisle, she published the first 3D stricture of a steroid, cholesteryl iodide. Other influential discoveries by Hodgkin include the confirmation of the structure of penicillin that Ernst Boris Chain and Edward Abraham had previously surmised, and then the structure of vitamin B12, for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She was the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Dorothy Hodgkin has a pretty long honours list. Apart from the Nobel Prize, she was the second woman recipient of the Order of Merit in 1965 (preceded only by Florence Nightingale), the first woman recipient of the Copley Medal, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a winner of the Lenin Peace Prize, and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art.
Hodgkin died on 29 July 1994 due to cardiac stroke at her home in Warwickshire, England.