Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Want girls to go into STEM careers? Dorothy Hodgkin is a great example from the recent past.

A recent report by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) says women, disabled people and ethnic minorities are all under-represented in the STEM industries. Apparently girls (or their parents) are more likely to choose medicine, law or teaching if they enjoy science rather than careers in science, construction and engineering.

Here at York we are very proud that Dorothy Hodgkin, the crystallographer who discovered the structure of insulin, spent so much of her 'retirement' in the Chemistry Department working with Guy and Eleanor Dodson and their colleagues. Dorothy would have been 104 yesterday.

Dorothy Hodgkin was born in 1910 and studied chemistry at Oxford which launched a stellar career during which she confirmed the structure of penicillin, discovered the structure of vitamin B12 followed by the structure of insulin. In 1964 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry.

During this time Dorothy also married and had three children - a role model indeed for anyone who thinks a career in science is not for them. After all - during the early '30s it was not usual for young women to study science and certainly most unusual to carve out a world class career.

The Dorothy Hodgkin building at The University of York

Dorothy Hodgkin and Guy Dodson at York


1 comment:

Emily Hubbard said...

A lesson that sex or age are no barrier to success. You're right that her story could be used to help inspire and recruit women into STEM careers - an inspirational woman.

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