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Who said: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
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Thumbnail of Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (source)
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
(12 May 1910 - 29 Jul 1994)

English biochemist and X-ray crystallographer (nιe Crowfoot) who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964 for her discoveries of the structure of biologically important molecules, including penicillin (1946), vitamin B-12 (1956), and the protein hormone insulin (1969).


Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin - Captured for life by chemistry

Illustrated Quote - Large (800 x 600 px)

“I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals.”
— Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
Quoted in Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life.

More Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin quotes on science >>

This quote can be found in the biography by Georgina Ferry. The first chapter begins in 1920, and immediately introduces Dorothy Mary Crowfoot as a girl, aged 10, beginning her scientific career in a small private class in the Rectory at Beccles, in Suffolk, with a progressive educator who had been trained to go beyond teaching conventional nature study to elementary students and include courses in physics and chemistry.

This is where Dorothy made solutions of alum and copper sulphate and observed that after days of evaporation, gradually crystals appeared. As Ferry describes them, “faceted like jewels, twinkling in the light.” To this, Ferry adds that “Dorothy was enchanted,” and that “Dorothy herself identified that experience as the spark that lit the fuse of her lifelong passion for crystals.” In the words that Dorothy later wrote,

“I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals.”

By age eleven, she had her own private laboratory in one of the attics of her home. A cupboard held a collection of rocks, bird’s eggs and fir cones. But also, together with a rack of test tubes, she had bottles of crystals, powders and solutions for her experiments. Ferry describes how Dorothy turned “the piece of platinum wire in the flame of the little spirit lamp, while a coloured bead gradually formed at its tip.”

Thus we learn that Dorothy Hodgkin (her name after marriage) began her fascination with science in the way that so many notable researchers have—in their youth—not merely in school, but also by pursuing that interest with self-directed enquiry at home.

Text by Webmaster, with quotes from Georgina Ferry, Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life (1998, 2000), 7-8. Sadly, Ferry does not footnote the subject quote with a citation for its written source. (source)


See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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