Barbara McClintock was a pioneering scientist in the field of genetics at a time when nearly all scientists were men. Her experiments with corn led to the surprising discovery that genes can move over generations from one place on the genome to another and even from one type of organism to another. In 1983, almost forty years after her discovery of so-called "jumping genes," McClintock became the first woman ever to be awarded an unshared Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
The significance of McClintock's discovery was not immediately apparent, however, and for decades few scientists seemed interested in her research. McClintock nonetheless persevered, continuing her careful work in her corn fields and in her laboratory. Today numerous researchers trace their work back to hers. The profound implications of McClintock's work continue to unfold-just as the story of her life continues to intrigue and inspire.