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One of the oldest scientific societies in existence, The Royal Society, has been awarding distinguished individuals with the Copley Medal since 1731, one hundred and seventy years before the first Nobel Prize. The list of Copley Medal recipients includes such recognizable names as Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestly, Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Francis Crick, James Watson, Stephen Hawking, and Peter Higgs (The Royal Society 2016).

Dorothy Hodgkin, also a Nobel laureate in Chemistry, received the Copley Medal in 1976. Among her tremendous scientific contributions, Dr. Hodgkin pioneered the use of X-ray crystallography with complex biological molecules, spawning the field of protein crystallography (Ferry 2014). In her lifetime, she deciphered the atomic structure of insulin, vitamin B12, and penicillin.

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