Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1981
Date of death: 14 June 2000
Elsie Widdowson had a huge impact on nutritional research. After joining the Medical Research Council, she worked in the Biochemical Department at King's College Hospital, the Department of Experimental Medicine in Cambridge, and became the head of the Infant Nutrition Division at the Dunn Nutrition Laboratory. She continued her work after her retirement at the Department of Medicine in Cambridge after receiving a research grant. Her research was concerned with nutrition, including the composition of foods, under-nutrition in man, and the nutritional requirements of the fetus and newly born.
Dr Widdowson was given an honorary Doctorate of Science in 1974, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society two years later, and was awarded a CBE in 1979. She had a huge influence; she wrote over 300 publications and was a member of numerous committees, including at the Department of Health.