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Spotlight on: Rita Levi Montalcini

  Rita Levi Montalcini was born in Turin in 1909 to Jewish parents. She studied medicine, but her passion soon turned to research. In 1938 Mussolini’s new law, barring all Jews from university positions, drove her out of her lab. So, she built her own lab in her bedroom, and using chicken eggs and sewing needles she started dissecting and studying nerve growth. She took on an assistant, Giuseppe Levi and together they set out a new theory of embryonic nerve development. Soon, the Germans invaded Italy and started rounding up Jews. No longer safe, she and Giuseppe fled to America. She observed and recorded a factor derived from a tumour that would increase nerve growth in her chick embryos,...

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Spotlight on: Mary Anning

Mary Anning was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, England, to a very large, very poor family. Her family was ostracised as Protestants who had separated from the Church of England. Mary’s father was an amateur fossil collector and by her sixth birthday Mary has become his assistant.

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Spotlight on: Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna in 1914 to Jewish parents. Despite her first marriage keeping her safe from immediate persecution from the Nazis, she was deeply unhappy and escaped to England one night. Once there, she was scooped up by MGM’s Louis B. Mayer and began her long career with MGM. 

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