When June Almeida peered into her electron microscope in 1964, she saw a round, grey dot covered in tiny spokes. She and her colleagues noted that the pegs formed a halo around the virus—much like the sun’s corona.
What she saw would become known as the coronavirus, and Almeida played a pivotal role in identifying it. That feat was all the more remarkable because the 34-year-old scientist never completed her formal education.
Born June Hart, she lived with her family in a tenement building in Glasgow, Scotland, where her father worked as a bus driver. June was a bright student with ambitions to attend university, but money was scarce. At 16, she dropped out of school and started working as