Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life

Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life

Georgina Ferry

Language: English

Pages: 555

ISBN: 1448211719

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994) was renowned for her medically-important work on penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin. Fully engaged with the political and social currents of her time, she participated in some of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century: women's education; the globalisation of science; the rise and fall of communism; and international peace movements. A wife, mother and grandmother, she cared deeply about the wellbeing of individuals in all cultures.

Georgina Ferry's biography of the only British female scientist to receive the Nobel Prize – Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life – was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize and the Marsh Biography Award. Bloomsbury Reader 2014 edition is reissued with a new preface.


















more personally, I could never have carried out the amount of scientific research I have achieved if I had not, at the time of my marriage, been earning a sufficient salary to permit me to pay for help in our home.24 The first response from the DSIR indicated that they could not see why a women living with her husband needed any more money than one living with her parents. But Dorothy persisted, and eventually Kamper’s grant was raised for her second year. A personal note from the Secretary of

grounded in this internationalism. Her brand of socialism was similarly idealistic rather than ideological, driven by her concern for humanity and the betterment of standards of living. Although she never joined the Communist Party, she found much to admire in the socialist regimes of the USSR, China and North Vietnam. A vision of self-organizing communities of happy, hard-working people, living modestly but comfortably and benefiting from excellent schools, universities, parks and hospitals,

important drawings.’ Her work was eventually published in her father’s reports of the excavation,4 and the originals are now at Yale (‘in a drawer where no one can see them’, she remarked with some regret in 19905). The ‘blessed interlude’ ended with a magical journey through Lebanon with her parents, travelling on horseback and staying in village rest houses in the mountains. ‘[The guides] lit a great fire in the courtyard and cooked meat and rice which we ate in the firelight, sitting round

rebuttal amounted to little more than saying she didn’t agree with Pauling’s analysis. She had nothing new to say, yet still clung on to a belief now shown to have no substance in reality. Although she successfully obtained academic posts, first at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and later at Amherst, Smith and Mount Holyoake Colleges in Massachusetts, she retained a wistful desire to be included among the British protein chemists. That summer Dorothy Hodgkin had begun a new series of

carbon that made up the bulk of the molecule, and therefore estimating the phases of the reflections on the basis of the iodine atom alone gave a good approximation to the true phases. She already knew from her preliminary studies that the unit cell of the crystal structure contained just two molecules, related in a way that would not cause undue problems in interpreting the maps. The chemistry of the sterols was by this time fairly well understood. With a little help from crystallographers such

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