International Women’s Day

Dorothy Hodgkin
Dorothy Hodgkin

According to Jerry Coyne over at Why Evolution Is True, today is International Women’s Day. He honors Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994), who won her Nobel Prize in 1964 for studies of “the structure of crystals of great chemical interest”.

Coyne writes that Hodgkin “became interested in crystallography at the age of 10 (!), and, after attending Oxford, went to Cambridge to study under J. P. Bernal, a polymath known as ‘Sage.’ Her tireless efforts (which involved designing apparatus and the extremely complex method of calculating molecular structure) helped launch the field of X-ray chrystallography. She won the Nobel for those efforts, which led to her determining the molecular structure of penicillin, vitamin B12, and (after her prize), of insulin.”

She is “the only British woman who has won a Nobel Prize in science.”

Marie Curie
Marie Curie

I apologize for not realizing sooner that today had been designated as a day for honoring women. I would have written about Marie Curie (1867 – 1934), who discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium, and who established the first military field radiological centers to treat the wounded during World War I.

Curie literally gave her life for her science,  dying of aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation (a word she coined).

I will not begin now and do a half-way job. Maybe next year. Maybe sooner, for that matter.

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