Famous Women in Chemistry History - NationalWomensDay

One of the things you’ll find in the distilled spirits world is many of the Master Distillers have a background or a degree in Chemistry. That chemistry degree more often than not came long before the thought of applying their skills to distilled spirits, or at least drinkable distilled craft spirits. Some started out in the ethanol business making petro fuels for large corporations like ADM or Valero.

Here are a dozen famous pioneering female chemists to help mark International Women’s Day. There accomplishments include pioneering research on radioactivity, the idea of nuclear fission, treatment for leprosy, development of the polymer Kevlar and the first immunosuppresive drug used for organ transplants.

The list includes five Nobel Price winners and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Unfortunately, you’ll notice a lot of their accomplishments were not recognized until after their death. The world keep evolving.

You can click on the 12 Famous Female Chemists Infographic below to see it full size.

Gerty Theresa Cori – Born 1896, Died 1957

Cori helped establish how glycogen is broken down in muscles then remade and stored as an energy source (the Cori Cycle). She jointly won a Nobel Prize for her work.

Kathleen Lonsdale – Born 1903, Died 1971

Lonsdale pioneered use of X-rays to study crystals, and also used the technique to confirm that a benzene ring is flat. A form of carbon, Lonsdaleite, is named after her.

Rosalind Franklin – Born 1920, Died 1958

Franklin made X-ray diffraction images of DNA, crucial in allowing DNA’s structure to be discerned. This contribution wasn’t fully acknowledged until after her death.

Marie Sklodowska Curie – Born 1867, Died 1934

Curie carried out pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.

Ida Eve Noddack – Born 1896, Died 1978

Noddack was the first person to propose the idea of nuclear fission, which she suggested in 1934. She was also the co-discoverer of rhenium, in 1925.

Marie-Anne Paulze Lavoisier – Born 1758, Died 1836

Paulze married chemist Antoine Lavoisier and received training in chemistry. She worked with Lavoiser editing and drawing his methods so they could be understood.

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Dorothy Mary Hodgkin – Born 1910, Died 1994

Hodgkin used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of vitamin B12, for which she won a Nobel Prize. She went on to decipher the structure of insulin

Marie Maynard Daly – Born 1921, Died 2003

Daly, thought to have been the first Black American woman to earn a PhD in chemistry, in 1947. She later researched effects of cigarette smoke on the lungs.

Alice Augusta Ball – Born 1892, Died 1916

Ball developed an injectable oil which was the most effective treatment for leprosy until the 1940s. She died before the results of her work were published.

Irene Joliot-Curie – Born 1897, Died 1956

Irene was the daughter of Marie Curie. A joint Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner in 1935 with Frédéric Joliot-Curie for their discovery of and work on artificial radioactivity.

Gertrude Belle Elion – Born 1918, Died 1999

Elian developed numerous drugs, including the first immunosuppresive drug used for organ transplants. She jointly won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.

Stephanie Kwolek – Born 1923, Died 2014

Kwolek developed the polymer Kevlar and won many awards for her work on polymer chemistry. She also developed the ‘nylon rope trick’ chemistry demonstration.

Click on the 12 Famous Female Chemists Infographic to see it full size.

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Resource: Compound Interest

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