UK (1996) Women
of achievement: Dorothy Hodgkins (1910-1994) and Vitamin B12.
Dorothy Hodgkins was a British biochemist
and crystallographer who won the 1964 Nobel Prize in
Chemistry for "her determination
by x-ray techniques of the structures of biologically important
molecules." She obtained degrees
from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Using the first electronic
computer she confirmed the structure
of vitamin B12 which helped scientists to understand how the
human body uses B12 to build red
Vitamin B12 is essential for synthesis
of blood cells and formation of myelin in the nervous system.
Vitamin B12 deficiency causes megaloblastic
anaemia and subacute combined degeneration of the
spinal cord. In the eye, its deficiency
causes flame haemorrhages and optic atrophy.