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Fellows Directory

Olga Kennard

Olga Kennard

Dr Olga Kennard OBE FRS

Fellow


Elected: 1987

Biography

Olga Kennard is an expert crystallographer who used X-ray diffraction to investigate organic and biological molecules. In particular, her work extended our understanding of alternative structures of DNA. Olga is dedicated to the advancement of chemistry and crystallography for the public benefit.

For over 30 years, Olga was Director of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, which focuses on the structure determination of complex small molecules. The centre has trained and supported many students, including 2014 Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year, Tom Brown, who worked with Olga as a postdoctoral scientist in the 1980s.

Olga believed passionately that the collective use of data would support the discovery of new knowledge. Thus, together with X-ray crystallography in molecular biology pioneer, John Bernal, Olga conceived the Cambridge Structural Database — one of the world’s oldest numeric scientific databases. She was made an OBE in 1988, and the Royal Society created the Olga Kennard Research Fellowship in crystallography in recognition of her work.

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