From crystallography, to running the country

What is it?

Today marks the anniversary of when the first female British prime minister took office, in 1979. She was a very polarising figure, but is still the only British Prime minister to have held a science degree. This was in Chemistry, which she gained from study at Oxford University. As part of this she worked as a project student in the labs of Gerhart Schmidt and Dorothy Hodgkin, working for a time on today’s feature crystal structure Gramicidin S.

Gramicidin S is an antibiotic molecule first discovered in Soviet Russia, where it was used successfully to treat infections in the front lines of world war II.

What does it look like?

Crystal structure of modified Gramicidin S.png
Crystal structure of modified Gramicidin S” by Jeremiah at en.wikipediaOwn work
Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Where did the structure come from?

The structure of Gramicidin S was first reported in 1957 by Schmidt, Hodgkin and Oughton, from studying a number of derivatives of the molecule. You can read the original paper here.

Advertisements