January 2010

Mildred Cohn (1913–2009)

In 1960, when Mildred Cohn and Henry Primakoff were contemplating moving to the University of Pennsylvania because Henry had been offered a great professorship in physics, Mildred approached Lucile Smith and I (we were the only two female faculty members in what was then the Johnson Foundation for Medical Physics) to ask how we felt women were treated at Penn. Lucile had moved to Dartmouth Medical School and had not been happy with her experiences at Penn. However, I responded that, although the director, Britton Chance, was a tough taskmaster, he was equally fair to both women and men. When the chairman of the department of biochemistry (Samuel Gurin) indicated he did not want a female faculty member in his department, Brit was delighted to welcome Mildred to his faculty. 

Helen C. Davies
Professor of microbiology
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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