Molecular model of penicillin by Dorothy M Crowfoot Hodgkin, England, 1945
Penicillin was successful as an antibiotic and treatment for infection well before scientists knew its chemical nature. Chemist and crystallographer Dorothy M Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) used large punch-card operated tabulators, predecessor to the computer, to help analyse the patterns cast by reflected X-rays. This technique is known as X-ray crystallography. Hodgkin later won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964 “for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances”.
Related Themes and Topics
There are 393 related objects. View all related objects
The first antibiotic drug to treat infections which is made from the mould penicillium. Its discovery is attributed to Alexander Fleming in 1928.
a substance that is prepared synthetically but derives from a naturally occurring material
Glossary: molecular model
a physical model that represents molecules and their processes and structures
Glossary: x-ray crystallography
The method of using X-rays to discover the molecular structure of crystals. It relies on X-ray diffraction, which is the information gained by studying the pattern produced by the scattering of an X-ray beam as it hits the atomic structure of a crystal.
Glossary: Nobel Prize
Awarded annually for outstanding work in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, economics, and the promotion of peace.