A Google Doodle today celebrates the 104th birthday of British scientist Dorothy Hodgkin. The special logo features an X-ray crystallography of 3-D biomolecules, the method used by scientists to determine the 3-D structure of biological molecules.
Hodgkin was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in chemistry in 1964, which she won for discovering the biomolecule structure of the vitamin B12. At the time, she was only the third woman to be awarded the prize, and she is still the only British woman to have won the prize.
Later, she also contributed to the discovery of the structures of both penicillin and insulin, where she described her first X-ray photograph of the latter as “the most exciting moment of my life.” She dedicated a large part of her later life to insulin research, cooperating with labs in their insulin research. She traveled throughout the world giving talks about insulin and its importance for treating diabetes.
She also taught Margaret Roberts in the 1940s, the woman who later became Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher later had a portrait of Hodgkin’s hung in Downing Street.
Hodgkin began suffering pain in her hands at age 24, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The arthritis became so bad that it deformed both her hands and feet, later confining her to a wheelchair.
Hodgkin died March 29, 1994 at the age of 84 of a cardiac stroke.