Definition of Hodgkin, Dorothy

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Hodgkin, Dorothy: British crystallographer and Nobel Prize winner (1910-1994).

Dorothy Crowfoot, as she was born, was educated at Somerville College, Oxford. After a brief period as a postgraduate student at Cambridge University, she returned to Oxford in 1934 and spent her entire academic career there. After various appointments within the university, she became the first Royal Society Wolfson Research Professor at Oxford in 1960.

Hodgkin had the good fortune to fall under the influence of the inspiring and scientifically imaginative physicist J. D. Bernal at Cambridge, who opened the way to investigate complex organic molecules with the technique of X-ray diffraction analysis. Hodgkin's first major result came in 1949 when, with Charles Bunn, she published the three dimensional structure of penicillin. This was followed by the structure of vitamin B12 in 1956 and that of insulin in 1969. For her work on vitamin B12, Hodgkin was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964.

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