Dorothy Hodgkin; Won Nobel Prize for Vitamin Research

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Dorothy Hodgkin, whose research into vitamins won her the Nobel Prize in chemistry and whose interest in world peace led her to help found the Cold War-era Pugwash conference on nuclear weapons, has died at 84.

Mrs. Hodgkin, who died Friday at her home in Shipston-on-Stour, is best known for mapping the molecular structure of penicillin, insulin and Vitamin B-12. Her research on Vitamin B-12 won her the 1964 Nobel Prize.

She was a founding member of Pugwash, the international organization of scientists who, during the Cold War, tried to further communication between scientists on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Pugwash was started in 1957 in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, to examine problems related to the development of weapons of mass destruction.


For her efforts Mrs. Hodgkin was given the Lenin Peace Prize in 1987.

Dorothy Mary Crowfoot was born in Cairo, where her father worked for the Egyptian Ministry of Education and her mother was an expert on ancient textiles.

She was educated in England and studied chemistry at Oxford University’s Somerville College before going to Cambridge from 1932 to 1934 for her doctoral studies.

She returned to Somerville to teach and was Wolfson research professor of the University of Oxford from 1960 to 1977. One of her students was former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.


Hodgkin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1947 for her analysis of penicillin. In 1956, she produced a three-dimensional analysis of Vitamin B-12, which is essential to the life of red blood cells. In the late 1960s, she created a three-dimensional map of insulin.

Hodgkin was the first woman since Florence Nightingale to become a member of the Order of Merit, the most prestigious of Britain’s royal orders. It is restricted to 24 men and women who have excelled in art, literature, science or the armed services and is a personal gift of the monarch.

Professor Hodgkin’s husband, Thomas, an Africanist and Arabist, died in 1982. She is survived by two sons and a daughter.