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Scientist Mildred Cohn, 96

Matt Schudel

Mildred Cohn, a remarkable scientist who was unknown to the general public but was immensely influential in her field of biochemistry, has died at the age of 96.

As a woman who began her career in science in the 1930s, she overcame many obstacles to gain recognition and was recognized by her peers as an important innovator in nuclear magnetic resonance and the study of enzymes at the molecular level.

In recent years, Dr. Cohn spoke out about her struggles in science, including in this book about women in science, and did her best to open doors for other women. Another interesting profile can be found in the professional journal ASBMB Today (for The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). If you've got 36 minutes, you can view an interesting interview with Dr. Cohn at this site.

I spoke to a colleague of hers at the University of Pennsylvania, Jerry D. Glickson, who said, "She was an institution at the University of Pennsylvania and was a world-renowned scientist."

Dr. Cohn worked with many Nobel laureates, both as mentors and as young colleagues in a variety of laboratories.

"Mildred was the only one who didn't win the Nobel," Glickson said, "and she was probably the best one there."

By Matt Schudel  |  October 23, 2009; 3:54 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  
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