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Jean Medawar, née Taylor, was born in London, England, the daughter of a British father and an American mother. She was raised in Cambridge and attended Benenden School in Kent. From there, she won a scholarship to study zoology at Oxford University, earning her BSc degree in 1935. She worked on the origin and development of lymphocytes under Prof. (later Lord) Howard Florey, who later won the Nobel Prize. At Oxford, she met Peter Brian Medawar (later Sir Peter) a biologist who himself later won the Nobel Prize. The couple married In 1937 and had four children. In the 1950s, she began working for the Family Planning Association, and eventually became its chair in 1966. The Guardian called her, "a crucial link between the work of the early pioneers of contraception in the 1930s, such as Lady Denman and Margaret Pyke (both close mentors and friends to Jean), and modern times, when empowering women to control their fertility is largely taken for granted." In 1959, she became joint editor of the journal Family Planning -- continued as Family Planning Today -- with Dr. David Pyke, a post she held until 1979. She wrote numerous scholarly articles on the biology of women and the environment. She collaborated with her husband on his ten books on the interpretation of science. Her own books included Hitler's Gift: The True Story of the Scientists Expelled by the Nazi Regime (with David Pyke, 2000), and a biography of her husband, A Very Decided Preference (1990).
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