The great Rita Levi-Montalcini died yesterday at the age of 103. She is a towering figure in the field of neural development and was my idol when I was in graduate school. She is a true inspiration, overcoming taboos against women becoming physicians in her time, and conducting research in secret in her bedroom as a Jew in Italy during WWII. She won the Nobel Prize for her work in 1986. Even the greats in her field speak of her in reverential tones.
The autobiography of this extraordinary person is well worth reading, even for non-scientists.