The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

File:Dorothy Hodgkin Nobel.jpgOn August 14, 1969, Dr. Dorothy Hodgkin used a science she had pioneered — X-ray crystallography — to decipher the three-dimensional structure of insulin, a protein that plays an important role in diabetes. This discovery helped scientists understand how to treat the symptoms of diabetes. What is remarkable is that this momentious discovery was made after Dorothy had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964, only the third woman to ever win this Nobel Prize (the other two were Marie Curie in 1911 and her daughter, Irene Joliet-Curie, in 1935). Dorothy was awarded the Nobel Prize for her work on the structure of a different important molecule, vitamin B-12.

For most people, a Nobel prize would be enough. Not Dorothy! She also was the second woman to receive the Order of Merit (after Florence Nightingale), the first woman to receive the Copley Medal, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize, the Longstaff Medal, the Mikhail Lomonosov Gold Medal, the Dimitrov Prize 1984. Oh, and she’s on a stamp, too. Learn more about Dorothy HERE.

Quotes from Dorothy Hodgkin:

  • “I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals.”
  • “I meant to, to study chemistry, and it was really intended by my family that, whatever happened, I should go to Oxford, which was where my father had been before me, because sadly he had no boys, so I had to manage.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Belva Lockwood

In honor of the upcoming election, this week’s Quotable Nerdy Chick is one of my personal favorites: Belva Lockwood. It’s sad to me how many people have never heard of Belva. She was such a fascinating woman that I believe she should be a household name.

In the United States in 1884, only men were allowed to vote. But Belva decided that she would take a bold but legal step: she ran for president! After all, the law only prohibited women from voting, not from getting votes. And, believe it or not, Belva got votes! She ran an effective campaign and actually convinced hundreds of men to vote for a woman for president. But don’t think they were sympathy votes! Belva’s run for office was based on experience and merit: unlike many women of the time, she went to college, then to law school, and even argued cases before the Supreme Court.

Quotes from Belva Lockwood:

“If nations could only depend upon fair and impartial judgments in a world court of law, they would abandon the senseless, savage practice of war.”

“I know we can’t abolish prejudice through laws, but we can set up guidelines for our actions by legislation.”

“I am, and always have been a progressive woman, and while never directly attacking the conventionalities of society, have always done, or attempted to do those things which I have considered conducive to my health, convenience or emolument.”

File:Belva Ann Lockwood - Brady-Handy.jpg“The glory of each generation is to make its own precedents.”

“I have been now fourteen years before the bar, in an almost continuous practice, and my experience has been large, often serious, and many times amusing. I have never lacked plenty of good paying work; but, while I have supported my family well, I have not grown rich. In business I have been patient, painstaking, and indefatigable. There is no class of case that comes before the court that I have not ventured to try . . . either civil, equitable, or criminal; and my clients have been as largely men as women. There is a good opening at the bar for the class of women who have taste and tact for it.”

Learn more about Belva at the National Archives or check out my book, BALLOTS FOR BELVA.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist. Her book, Silent Spring, along with her work, is given credit for helping the environmental movement.  She won the National Book Award in 1951 for The Sea Around Us.

I was introduced to Rachel Carson’s work when I lived near beautiful, marshy, Beaufort, NC, which is a short boat ride, (or swim) from the Rachel Carson Reserve. To find out more about Rachel Carson, click HERE.

Rachel Carson Quotes:

  • But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
  • The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.
  • It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.
  • It is not half so important to know as to feel.
  • In every out thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.
  •  One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?

Having spent most of my adult life either near the waters of Beaufort, NC or the waters of Beaufort, SC, I can fully appreciate Rachel Carson’s efforts to preserve waters, the beaches, the marshes, the wildlife.

This photo of Rachel Carson is  in the public domain.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Madeleine Albright

File:Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.jpg

 

Madeleine Albright is a Nerdy Chick extraordinaire! She has served our country as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations and as the 64th United States Secretary of State — and, oh, by the way, the first woman to ever hold that office. She has a PhD from Columbia University, she has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she has served on the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange, she is a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, and just to top all that off, she is fluent in English, French, Russian, and Czech. Oh, and she speaks and reads Polish and Serbo-Croatian, too. I wonder if she has a cape and mask to go with all those superpowers?

Quotes from Madeleine Albright:

“Even before I went to the UN, I often would want to say something in a meeting – only woman at the table – and I’d think, ‘OK well, I don’t think I’ll say that. It may sound stupid.’ And then some man says it, and everybody thinks it’s completely brilliant, and you are so mad at yourself for not saying something.”

“It’s one thing to be religious, but it’s another thing to make religion your policy.”

“I love being a woman and I was not one of these women who rose through professional life by wearing men’s clothes or looking masculine. I loved wearing bright colors and being who I am.”

“I really think that there was a great advantage in many ways to being a woman. I think we are a lot better at personal relationships, and then have the capability obviously of telling it like it is when it’s necessary.”

“I’ve never been to New Zealand before. But one of my role models, Xena, the warrior princess, comes from there.”

(FYI: Xena is one of my role models, too!)

Read more about Madeleine HERE or HERE.

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Martha Graham

This photo of Martha Graham and Bertram Ross was taken by photographer Carl Van Vetchtan

Martha Graham (1894- 1991) was an American dancer and choreographer whose influence on modern dance has been compared to Picasso’s influence on visual art. She worked as a dancer and choreographer for more than seventy years. Graham received many awards for her contributions to dance including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Read more about her amazing life HERE.

  • Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.
  • The only sin is mediocrity.
  • There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
  • Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.
  •  ‘Age’ is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.

The older I get, the more this nerdy chick appreciates that last quote. Especially the word glory!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Bella Abzug

File:Bella Abzug 1971-11-30.jpgWhen Bella Abzug was 13, her father died. There was no one to say the Mourner’s Kaddish for him in synagogue because that was the responsibility of the sons of the deceased — and Bella’s father didn’t have any sons. So Bella defied her community and said the prayers herself. It was one of her first feminist actions.

The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Bella started giving speeches about causes that were important to her in her childhood — speaking out in subways because she had no other pulpit. Over the course of her life, however, Bella found greater stages to stand on and larger audiences to listen to her words. including the House of Representatives, where she served from 1971 to 1977. She supported civil rights and women’s rights, and changed the world for the better.

Quotes from Bella Abzug:

  • “We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room. We want an equal share in government and we mean to get it.”
  • “Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over.”
  • “The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.”
  • “Women have been and are prejudiced, narrow minded, reactionary, even violent. Some women. They, of course, have a right to vote and a right to run for office. I will defend that right, but I will not support them or vote for them.”
  • “They used to give us a day–it was called International Women’s Day. In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman. Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman. I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn’t behave and here we are.”
  • “All of the men on my staff can type.”

Learn more about Bella HERE.

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Virginia Woolf

File:Cameron julia jackson.jpgWhen I read A Room of One’s Own in college, I truly believed Virginia Woolf was talking directly to me. In fact, when I lived in London, I would sometimes walk by her childhood home at  at 22 Hyde Park Gate in Kensington, in the hopes that inspiration would wash over me. One of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century, Virginia is both extremely nerdy and completely quotable.

 

 

Quotes from Virginia Woolf:

  • “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
  • “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
  • “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.”
  • “Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
  • “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

Learn more about Virgina HERE.