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Margaret Thatcher Biography

Political Science: Margaret Thatcher Started in STEM

Britain's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87. Many knew Margaret, dubbed "The Iron Lady" for her steadfastness, as a skilled politician and dedicated conservative — but the UK's longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century actually got her career start in science.

Margaret graduated from Oxford with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry after completing a dissertation on X-ray crystallography (mapping the chemical bonds and positions of atoms in a crystal) of gramicidin, an antibiotic.

The influence of science on the former female PM was significant. She was mentored by pioneering women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) early on. Dorothy Hodgkin, a Nobel Prize winner for her groundbreaking work with penicillin, was Margaret's dissertation advisor during her years at Oxford.

Later on, despite her views as a staunch financial conservative, Margaret gave a surprising speech in 1989 before the United Nations calling for a "vast international, co-operative effort" to reduce greenhouse gases and fund green energy research.

There's no doubt that Margaret Thatcher was a strong-willed woman with many words of wisdom. Whether or not you agree with her politics, it is hard to deny that Margaret Thatcher was a trailblazer in many ways: first, as a chemist in the '50s, a time when many other women were relegated to housework, and then as Britain's highest ranking official.

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