12 Dorothy Hodgkin Quotes from Famous British Chemist

Dorothy Hodgkin was a renowned English chemist, born on May 12, 1910, in Cairo, Egypt.

From a young age, Hodgkin displayed a passion for science, which was nurtured by her academic parents.

She notably excelled in X-ray crystallography, using it to reveal the three-dimensional structure of complex organic molecules.

Source: Wikipedia

Her pivotal work determining the structure of penicillin and vitamin B12 led to her winning the 1964 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

In 1937, Hodgkin married historian Thomas Hodgkin and together they had three children.

Related: Irving Langmuir Quotes from American Chemist & Physicist and Rosalind Franklin Quotes from Famous English Chemist

She was a committed academic, serving as the Chancellor of the University of Bristol and President of the International Union of Crystallography.

Despite being diagnosed with chronic rheumatoid arthritis at age 28, which distorted her hands, Hodgkin persisted with her delicate research work, demonstrating an exemplary resilience.

She retired in 1988 and passed away in 1994, leaving a remarkable legacy in the field of chemistry.

I have curated the top quotes from Dorothy Hodgkin for you.

Best Dorothy Hodgkin Quotes


I first met the subject of X-ray diffraction of crystals in the pages of the book W. H. Bragg wrote for school children in 1925, Concerning the Nature of Things. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.


I’m really an experimentalist…I think with my hands. I just like manipulation. I began to like it as a child and it’s continued to be a pleasure. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.


Would it not be better if one could really ‘see’ whether molecules… were just as experiments suggested? ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.


Nobody who lived through the first year or two of the trials of penicillin in Oxford could possibly not care about what it was. But also it’s difficult not to enjoy just growing the crystals. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

A great advantage of X-ray analysis as a method of chemical structure analysis is its power to show some totally unexpected and surprising structure with, at the same time, complete certainty. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

I should not like to leave an impression that all structural problems can be settled by X-ray analysis or that all crystal structures are easy to solve. I seem to have spent much more of my life not solving structures than solving them. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.


I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

I used to say the evening that I developed the first x-ray photograph I took of insulin in 1935 was the most exciting moment of my life. But the Saturday afternoon in late July 1969, when we realized that the insulin electron density map was interpretable, runs that moment very close. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

One’s tendency when one is young is to do experiments just to see what will happen, without really looking for specific things at all. I first set up a little laboratory in the attic at home just to grow crystals or try experiments described in books, such as adding a lot of concentrated sulfuric acid to the blood from a nosebleed which precipitates hemotin from the hemoglobin in the blood. That was quite a nice experiment. I still remember it. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

I once wrote a lecture for Manchester University called “Moments of Discovery” in which I said that there are two moments that are important. There’s the moment when you know you can find out the answer and that’s the period you are sleepless before you know what it is. When you’ve got it and know what it is, then you can rest easy. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

Famous Dorothy Hodgkin Quotes

Still I had a lurking question. Would it not be better if one could really ‘see’ whether molecules as complicated as the sterols, or strychnine were just as experiment suggested? ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.


The detailed geometry of the coenzyme molecule as a whole is fascinating in its complexity. ~ Dorothy Hodgkin.

So these were the 12 top quotes about Dorothy Hodgkin.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Vitalik Buterin quotes and Aisha Tyler quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

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