Dorothy Hodgkin, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1964 for the molecular structures of Penicillin
(Image credit: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis/Getty)
and vitamin B12.
She became very interested in crystals and chemistry at age 10, and as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, she became one of the first to study the structure of organic compounds using a method called X-ray crystallography. In her graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, she extended the work of British physicist John Desmond Bernal on biological molecules and helped to make the first X-ray diffraction study of the stomach enzyme pepsin, according to Britannica.
When she was offered a temporary research fellowship in 1934, she returned to Oxford, staying there until she retired. She established an X-ray lab at Oxford's Museum of Natural History, where she began her research on the structure of insulin.
In 1945, Hodgkin successfully described the arrangement of the atoms in penicillin's structure, and in the mid-1950s, she discovered the structure of vitamin B12. In 1969, nearly four decades after her first attempt, she determined the chemical structure of insulin.