Some 300 people attended the Dorothy Hodgkin Symposium, held at Somerville College on 30 October 2014 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Dorothy Hodgkin’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry, awarded for her work in the field of x-ray crystallography.

Crystallographers, students, alumni and members of the public gathered to hear Professor (Sir) Venki Ramakrishnan, himself a Nobel laureate, speak about the history of crystallography as well as the use of complementary techniques, notably electron microscopy.

“It was a terrific event,” said Sara Kalim, Development Director. “We were very pleased to see leading crystallographers speaking to members of the public as well as to Somerville alumni and students about a vital scientific field and one of its greatest pioneers.”

Alice Prochaska, Principal; Professor (Sir) Venki Ramakrishnan;
Lady Margaret Heath, daughter of Sir Lawrence Bragg

There was also a screening of a play about Dorothy Hodgkin, written by her biographer Georgina Ferry. The screening was followed by a Q&A with the scriptwriter. After Professor Ramakrishnan’s talk, a panel of academics considered the different discoveries and applications enabled by x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy and related forms of inquiry.

The Symposium was closed with a toast to Dorothy Hodgkin, delivered by Georgina Ferry. It was hosted by Somerville College, UNESCO and the International Union of Crystallography.

The College was delighted with the success of the event, and honoured to be able to welcome guests from the families of both Dorothy Hodgkin and Sir Lawrence Bragg.

It is hoped that the Symposium was a fitting tribute to the life and work of a remarkable scientist. Somerville College now plans to establish a lasting legacy in Dorothy Hodgkin’s name by raising funds for study and research in her field. Details will be posted on our website.

The programme for the Dorothy Hodgkin Symposium can be accessed on our website.

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