Women in the Field of Chemistry

Countless inspiring women have made great contributions to the chemistry field. Their revolutionary work made possible the understanding of advanced chemistry we are aware of today. It must be noted that many women chemists were not recognized in their lifetime despite their miraculous discoveries. Let’s have a look at some of the legendary women chemists:

Alice Augusta Ball (1892-1916) an American chemist, developed an injectable oil which was proved to be the most effective treatment for leprosy disease. Unfortunately she died before she could publish her findings, instead of the president of the university in which she pursued her master’s tried to claim her research as his own. Now February 29 is known as the Alice Ball day.

Another female British chemist Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) who made possible the recognition of the structure of DNA by developing X-ray diffraction images of DNA. Regrettably this contribution also wasn’t fully acknowledged until after her death. Marie Skłodowska Curie (1867-1934) – the one and only woman to receive two noble prizes in two different sciences (physics and chemistry). She was also the first women scientist to receive a noble prize. She received a prize in chemistry for the study and discovery of the two elements Radium (Ra) and Polonium (Po) along with Pierre Curie.

In 1935, Irène Joliot Curie – daughter of Marie Curie won a joint noble prize in chemistry with Frédéric Joliot Curie for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. Ida Eva Noddack (1896-1978) was a German chemist and physicist, she is recognized as the first person to propose the concept of nuclear fission in 1934. She is also known for her discovery of the Rhenium (Re) element along with Walter Noddack and Otto Berg in 1925. Asima Chatterjee (1917-2006) was an Indian organic chemist, her works include research on anti-malarial drugs. She was also the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.) from an Indian university.

Women with their notable work and achievements also broke their gender barriers along the way. It goes without saying that one can get great inspiration and motivation from these personalities. Today on this International Women’s Day, a team of Chemistry Junction celebrates women who live by their rules, make their own path, and dare to break free from gender rules.

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