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Great scientist remembered

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:41 01 August 2010

YOU can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

That was the message to Sir John Leman High School students at a special assembly held to celebrate the life of world-famous scientist Dorothy Hodgkin, who also attended the Beccles school.

YOU can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

That was the message to Sir John Leman High School students at a special assembly held to celebrate the life of world-famous scientist Dorothy Hodgkin, who also attended the Beccles school.

The assembly took place on Wednesday, the day that Dorothy Hodgkin would have celebrated her 100th birthday.

Mrs Hodgkin, who died in 1994, received worldwide recognition for her work on the structure of penicillin and insulin.

In 1964 she became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize for chemistry, and remains only the third woman to have been given the award - and the only English woman ever.

The assembly was led by fellow Sir John Leman ex-pupil John Harris, who was a great admirer of her achievements. When Mrs Hodgkin was included on a block of stamps to commemorate famous scientists, he arranged for a limited-edition first day cover to be produced.

Mr Harris talked about her days at Sir John Leman, in Ringsfield Road, as well as her long and distinguished career.

“I'm almost the last person who should be conducting an assembly about a scientist because science wasn't my strongest subject when I was here,” said Mr Harris, who attended the school from 1953- 61 and went on to excel in languages. “I remember I was at Birmingham University when I heard she had won the Nobel Prize and I was very pleased because I realised that if a fellow student at Sir John Leman could achieve that, who knows what any of us could achieve. We may have in front of us another future distinguished student.”

As well as pupils from Sir John Leman, the assembly included youngsters from Crowfoot Primary, the town school named after Mrs Hodgkin's maiden name Crowfoot.

Mrs Hodgkin was born in 1910 in Cairo, but was brought back to England to live in Geldeston with her mother.

From 1921 to 1928 she travelled daily from Geldeston to the Leman. “My grandmother remembers her and she said all the other pupils were very envious because she was good at everything,” said Mr Harris.

This year Mr Harris created a limited edition cover for the block of stamps featuring Mrs Hodgkin, which was printed with the school badge and included an inlay card featuring details of her life and scientific achievements.

It also included a facsimile autograph she signed for Mr Harris when he met her at a students' reunion in April 1987.

At the end of the assembly Mr Harris handed out some copies of the cover to pupils at the school.

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