Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

1910 - 1994

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin is the only British woman to have received the Nobel Prize for science. She was awarded the prize for Chemistry in 1964, in recognition of her work of establishing the structures of vitamin B12 and penicillin.


Dorothy Hodgkin stamp

Born in Cairo in 1910, Hodgkin developed a love of chemistry from an early age, being one of only two girls permitted to study the discipline at her school. She would go on to study Chemistry at Oxford University, and completed a PhD in the subject at Cambridge.

Hodgkin returned to Oxford in 1934 to take on a Research Fellowship in Chemical Crystallography. She helped advance the x-ray crystallography technique, which was the key to studying and understanding three-dimensional structures of biochemical compounds. These structures included cholesteryl iodine, chemical formulae of penicillin and vitamin B12, and resulted in the award of the Nobel Prize in 1964.

Much of Hodgkin’s work in Oxford was completed here at the Museum of Natural History, as the University Chemistry department was still housed within the Museum at this time.


As picked by...


Ellena Grillo, Exhibitions Officer