Monday’s Google Doodle marked the 94th birthday of scientist Anne McLaren, whose work in the 1950s laid the foundation for in vitro fertilization technology. Using mice as research subjects, she helped show it was possible to grow healthy embryos outside the womb.
Born in London on April 26, 1927, McLaren said her small role in the 1936 H.G. Wells sci-fi movie The Shape of Things to Come was an early inspiration for getting into science. She went on to study zoology at the University of Oxford.
Her IVF research with colleague John Biggers led to “one of the most significant papers in the history of reproductive biology and medicine” in 1958 and would be applied successfully on humans 20 years later.
In 1991, she became the first woman ever to hold office in scientific institution the Royal Society, and in 1994 she was elected president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. She died in 2007, aged 80.