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Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin.

Professor Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who passed away on July 30, 1994, at the age of 84, was an outstanding scientist, great humanist, and above all, a splendid human being. Among her peers in the scientific community, there would have been others who were respected as much as Dorothy was, but perhaps none who was loved more than she was.

The honors, awards, and degrees Dorothy has received are too numerous to be listed here. She was elected at the early age of 37 to the Royal Society and received her Nobel Prize in 1964. She was keenly interested in education and was the Chancellor of Bristol University for two decades. She was enthusiastic about popularization of science and was the President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science during 1977-78. She took keen interest in the development of crystallography and the well-being of crystallographers. She served as President of the International Union of Crystallography during 1972-75. She was honoured by the Order of Merit, the highest civilian honor in the UK, in 1965. She was only the second woman, after Florence Nightingale, to receive this honor.

An important feature of Dorothy's research endeavor has been its international character. Of the 100 plus scientists who worked in her laboratory at different times, only about 25 came from the UK. Others came from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Chile, Denmark, New Guinea, Germany, Holland, Yugoslavia, China, Japan, Poland, France, Nigeria, the USSR, and the USA. The relationship among her and her colleagues was so close that they virtually belonged to an international family, presided over by the benign and motherly figure of Dorothy. She traveled widely, helped, advised, and encouraged crystallographers and scientists in different parts of the world. She has exerted a tremendous influence on the world scientific community.

In addition to her efforts to promote international understanding through scientific activities, she was active in campaigns for peace and disarmament. She was an ardent supporter of national liberation struggles and a champion of the development of the third world. She was elected President of Pugwash in 1976 and continued in that capacity for several years. Indeed, very few have contributed as much as Dorothy has, in her chosen professional activity as well as outside it, to promote international understanding and goodwill among different peoples of the world.

It is difficult to adequately describe her legendary achievements, but it is still harder to describe her personality in a few words. She was warm, simple, affectionate, and caring. She had a full family life. She married Thomas Hodgkin, a distinguished scholar and wonderful human being, in 1937. They raised three children, Luke, Elizabeth, and Toby. The house in which they lived in Oxford at different times and their country home at Ilmington, Warwickshire, radiated warmth and hospitality. They kept an open house and the guests included the powerful and famous, revolutionaries and refugees, and their own innumerable students, colleagues, and friends. To her students and colleagues, she was a teacher, mother, friend, and guide, rolled into one. My wife Kalyania and I had the privilege and the good fortune to belong to this band. To us, she gave her indulgent affection and care in abundant measure.

Einstein said of Mahatma Gandhi: "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth." This is true about Dorothy Hodgkin to a large measure.

M. Vijayan, India