Friday, 26 April 2013

A Brilliant Woman

So another woman has been removed from a British banknote.

I refer, of course, to Elizabeth Fry - prison reformer, Quaker and consumer of Turkish delight, who is to be replaced by Winston Churchill.

Now, we owe Winnie no ill will. A great man, unless you were a miner. But that leaves us with no women on our banknotes - or, at least, the side without Her Majesty on. The usual suspects have been suggested for next time - Boudicca, Queen Elizabeth, Joanna Lumley,  Jane Austen, Margaret Thatcher.

But if you ask me, there's a fine candidate who did marvellous things in a man's world and nobody's ever heard of her.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin.

Nobel laureate? Check. Scientific pioneer? Check.

Inventor of protein crystallography (thus enabling modern computer-based drug design) - yep. Fighter against disability? Yes again.

She deserves the creation of a note specially for her. I'd go for £15.

(Image from Wikipedia)


  1. Elizabeth Fry? I thought that was Stephen Fry.

  2. "unless you were a miner" ... or an ANZAC soldier, or anyone else who found themselves, at Gallipoli.

    1. I was betraying a purely tribal antipathy there.

  3. Rosalind Franklin. See here:

    It still rankles that we actually celebrate the people who basically stole her work....

    1. That's science for you. My work on colliding large hadrons got stolen as well. Just because I managed it with a bicycle pump and a length of rubber tubing.

    2. Using Stonehenge as your collider was never going to work. I'm glad they stopped you before you shattered the bluestones.

  4. Nobody's ever heard of her?!! What about all the women who benefitted from Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships to further their research careers? (I was a near miss [that's my story anyway!] and had to make do with an EPSRC postdoctoral fellowship.)


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