Location: First Floor, East Wing, North Wall, Sequence 1
Source: Chemical Heritage Foundation
Sponsor: Kim Dunbar
Elizabeth S. Rimpau
The sole Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1964, she was the third woman and the first Englishwoman to receive it. It was given for her work in X-ray crystallography, determining the structures of steroids, penicillin, and vitamin B12; she later determined the structure of insulin in collaboration with Chinese scientists. Hodgkin always pushed the X-ray method to the limits of its capabilities; the B12 structure, for example, was by far the most complex that had been worked out at the time, long before current computer methods were developed. She went to Oxford University in 1928 when few women studied science, did her Ph.D. at Cambridge and returned to Oxford for most of her career. She helped scientists in India, China and Africa, and worked for peace as president of the "Pugwash" conferences and the BAAS.