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Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A biography of Britain's only female Nobel Prize-winning scientist, a crystallographer who was also an active peace campaigner and mover through the highest levels of the British establishment.
Unknown Binding, 352 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Granta Books (Uk)
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4.11  · 
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 ·  54 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Google Doodle from 12 May 2014 to celebrate Dorothy Hodgkin's 104th birthday

In the same way that I always find etymology crucial when learning a new language, I need historical context when I study sciences. I always want to know: why was this considered important, and how did we acquire this information? So books like this, which trace the history of a discipline as well as a life, are to me extremely rewarding. I knew nothing about Dorothy Hodgkin before reading this and little about her field
Katie/Doing Dewey
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dorothy Hodgkin was an incredible scientist, one of the founders of the field of protein crystallography. Using cutting edge techniques, she discovered the structures of insulin, penicillin, and vitamin B12. She was awarded the Nobel prize for this work and remains the only British women to have received this honor (c'mon, Nobel prize committee, do better!). She also worked hard to create an international community of scientists and her protegees continue to make important discoveries around the ...more
Chloe Edges
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The combined review of the East Dulwich WI Bookclub as published at

The book garnered a whole mixture of opinions ranging from “Loved it!” to “Oh My Goodness! It was SO Boring”! Kirsten Ing was certainly the most impressed with the book being a self-declared lover of chemistry. Other members who had managed to finish it, including Chloe and Sue were somewhat put off by the amount of scientific detail included and admitted to skimming large sections. With not much backgrou
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Kindle e-book
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This excellent and very readable biography of eminent scientist Dorothy Hodgkin manages to make her come alive as a person and also manages to make the complex science approachable – although my non-scientific brain did struggle quite a lot. (My fault, not the book’s.) At least now I can at least pretend to know a little about crystallography. Hodgkin led an extremely interesting life, both within and without the purely scientific arena, and Georgina Ferry’s detailed and meticulous research has ...more
Steve Shea
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable and detailed narrative of a fascinating, thoughtful, and complex person - but for all that, someone you (and I) probably would have loved to meet. It was hard not to compare my lack of achievements to her indomitable thirst for progress, but I console myself with all of the history of science I used to not know that now I do, so painlessly.
Feb 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biography of Dorothy H. only woman to have won a Nobel Prize who is British (still to date!) geography of Africa, some of Europe other than Great Britian, U.S., China, Russia--mainly London and surrounding area discussed in her adventures of penicillin, insulin and B12 structure determination and family life
Pam Thomas
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book about the British Scientist Dorothy Hodgkin winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in the field of penicillin, VB12 and Insulin, how her name is well known throughout the world, how she gave money to third world scientists and an outstanding woman in her own right. A very educational book and I learned a lot.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good biography of a fascinating Nobel Prize-winning scientist--and pacifist.
Jun 30, 2015 marked it as to-read
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Born in Hong Kong in 1955, Ferry had a peripatetic childhood as one of five children of an army officer. She went to Ellerslie School in Great Malvern from 1966–73, then to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford: she graduated in Experimental Psychology in 1976.

She worked briefly for a science publisher before joining New Scientist magazine as a section editor. Soon afterwards she began to present science pro