(1910-1994) English biochemist who analyzed the structure of penicillin, insulin, and vitamin B12. Hodgkin was the first to use a computer to analyze the molecular structure of complex chemicals, and this enabled her to produce three-dimensional models. Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1964.
Hodgkin studied the structures of calciferol (vitamin D2), lumisterol, and cholesterol iodide, the first complex organic molecule to be determined completely by the pioneering technique of X-ray crystallography, a physical analysis technique devised by Lawrence Bragg (1890–1971), and at the time used only to confirm formulas predicted by organic chemical techniques. She also used this technique to determine the structure of penicillin, insulin, and vitamin B12.
Hodgkin was born in Cairo and educated at Somerville College, Oxford. At Cambridge 1932–34 she worked on the development of X-ray crystallography and, returning to Oxford 1934, began working on penicillin. After Howard Florey (1898–1968) and Ernst Chain (1906–1979) isolated pencillin from mold in 1939, chemists in Britain and America raced to determine its structure. Hodgkin’s assertion that the core of penicillin consisted of a ring of three carbons and a nitrogen thought too unstable exist, brought from Australian chemist John Cornforth the derisive comment, “If that’s the formula of penicillin, I’ll give up chemistry and grow mushrooms.” But Hodgkin was right, and she went on to determine the structure of the antibiotic cephalosporin C.
In 1948 Hodgkin began her work on vitamin B12, a substance that proved to be far more complex than penicillin: the first X-ray diffraction pictures showed over a thousand atoms, compared to penicillin’s 39. It took Hodgkin and co-workers eight years to solve. The structure of insulin was to take much longer still; Hodgkin first saw the diffraction pattern made by insulin in 1935, but it was to take 34 years for her to determine its structure.
In 1964 Hodgkin became the second woman to have ever received the Order of Merit (the first was Florence Nightingale) and— a committed socialist all her life—in 1987 she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. She became Chancellor of Bristol University 1970–88 and helped found a Hodgkin scholarship for students from the developing world.
(1798-1866) English physician who first recognized Hodgkin’s disease. He pioneered the use of the stethoscope in the UK. He was also the first person to stress the importance of postmortem examinations.
Hodgkin was born in London and studied at Guy's Hospital, London, and at Edinburgh, and lectured at Guy's 1827–37. He was active in the Aborigines Protection Society, and died in Jaffa (now in Israel) while on a mercy mission.
His paper describing Hodgkin's disease was published 1832.