Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Introducing... Queen Dorothy!

Every beehive has a single queen bee, and the queen of the brown nucleus is called Dorothy.

She is named after Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin, who was a Nobel Prize winning Chemist.  Dorothy was born in Egypt in 1910, and moved to England at the outbreak of World War I.  She was one of only two girls who were allowed to study chemistry at her grammar school in Beccles.

When she was 18 years old, Dorothy was admitted to study Chemistry at Oxford.  She graduated in 1932 with a first-class honours degree.  Dorothy then went on to study for her PhD, during which she began working on X-ray crystallography to study the structure of protein and sterol molecules.

After completing her PhD in 1937, Dorothy began to solve the structures of other biological molecules, including penicillin and vitamin B12 - for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Dorothy was appointed the Royal Society's Wolfson Research Professor in 1960.  She continued her research into molecular structure, including working on insulin, which she had begun researching in 1934.  In 1969 she finally resolved the structure of the insulin molecule, opening the way to medical research and treatment for diabetes.  Dorothy continued to work with laboratories that were undertaking research into insulin, and gave lectures worldwide in the importance of insulin in the causes and treatment of diabetes.

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