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Missouri (Listeni/mɨˈzʊəri/ or /mɨˈzʊərə/) is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2009 estimated population of 5,987,580, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It comprises 114 counties and one independent city. Missouri's capital is Jefferson City. The four largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. Missouri was originally acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became defined as the Missouri Territory. Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

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Missouri mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation with a mix of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. With the exceptions of 1956 and 2008, Missouri's results in U.S. presidential elections have accurately predicted the next President of the United States in every election since 1904. It has both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state. It is also a transition between the Eastern and Western United States, as St. Louis is often called the "western-most Eastern city" and Kansas City the "eastern-most Western city." Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains while the southern part lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing the two. The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers is located near St. Louis.

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The Missouri River is a major river of central North America, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river on the continent at over 2,341 miles (3,767 km) and the second largest tributary of the Mississippi by discharge, after the Ohio River. The watershed of the Missouri River drains nearly 530,000 square miles (1,400,000 km2) of the eastern Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, spanning parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Approximately 10 million people live in the drainage area, many concentrated in urban centers along the main stem such as St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; and Great Falls, Montana. Measured from its hydrologic source in the Centennial Mountains of southern Montana to the Mississippi's mouth at the Gulf of Mexico, it forms part of the fourth-longest river system in the world.

Although it once was, by far, the longest river of North America, today its length is comparable with the Mississippi River because of channelization of its waters to eliminate meanders and facilitate boat travel. The lower Missouri valley has become a highly productive agricultural and industrial region. Barges shipping gravel, wheat, fertilizer, and other grown, mined or manufactured products provide much of the commerce on the river today. In response to the growing amount of water traffic, federal and state agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) heavily dammed and channelized the river in the 20th century. Although this development has contributed to the economic growth of the region, it has taken a toll on the ecology and the water quality of the Missouri.

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The state quarter of Missouri, released in 2003, depicts the Gateway Arch and Lewis and Clark returning down the Missouri River.
Credit: United States Mint

The state quarter of Missouri, released in 2003, depicts the Gateway Arch and Lewis and Clark returning down the Missouri River.

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Gerty Theresa Cori (née Radnitz, August 15, 1896 – October 26, 1957) was an American biochemist who became the third woman—and first American woman—to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Cori was born in Prague (then in the Austrian Empire, now the Czech Republic). Growing up at a time when women were marginalized in science and allowed few educational opportunities, she gained admittance to medical school, where she met her future husband Carl Ferdinand Cori; upon their graduation in 1920, they married. Because of deteriorating conditions in Europe, the couple immigrated to the United States in 1922. Gerty Cori continued her early interest in medical research, collaborating in the laboratory with Carl. She published research findings coauthored with her husband, as well as publishing singly. Unlike her husband, she had difficulty securing research positions, and the ones she obtained provided meager pay. Her husband insisted on continuing their collaboration, though he was discourage from doing so by the institutions that employed him.

With her husband Carl and Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay, Gerty Cori received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for the discovery of the mechanism by which glycogen—a derivative of glucose—is broken down in muscle tissue into lactic acid and then resynthesized in the body and stored as source of energy (known as the Cori cycle). They also identified the important catalyzing compound, the Cori ester. In 2004, both Gerty and Carl Cori were designated an ACS National Historical Chemical Landmark in recognition of their work in clarifying carbohydrate metabolism.

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