Mental Floss

Today's Google Doodle Celebrates Dorothy Hodgkin

Jason English

Today's Google Doodle honors Dorothy Hodgkin on what would have been her 104th birthday. If you need a few talking points on Hodgkin, here's what Adrienne Crezo said about her in our round-up of women who've won science Nobel Prizes:

Dorothy Hodgkin’s mother fostered her love of science as a child, and at age 18, she began studying chemistry at a women-only Oxford college. She earned her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where she first took an interest in X-ray crystallography and began studying the structure of proteins. In 1934, she moved back to Oxford, where she was appointed the university’s first research chemistry fellow, a position she held until 1977. (She taught the future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1940s.) Through those years at Oxford, Hodgkin studied and discovered the three-dimensional structures of many biomolecules using X-ray crystallography: She confirmed the structure of penicillin in 1945. Her work on mapping vitamin B12 earned her the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. Five years later, she discovered the structure of insulin, a project so far advanced beyond the then-current technology that she first spent years working with colleagues to improve their methods and tools.