A strong streak of independence led Frances Arnold to move out of her family home at 17, and though she excelled in school, she grew bored with it, ignoring her homework and skipping class. Despite medicore grades, near perfect standardized test scores secured her enrollment at Princeton University, where she earned a degree in mechnical engineering. After several years working as an engineer, she enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a PhD in chemical engineering. She joined the California Institute of Technology in 1986, where she pioneered methods of “directed evolution” to create new proteins not found in nature. For this she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018.

Learn more at nobelprize.org.