Chemistry and Famous Chemists

Topics: Marie Curie

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a female chemist. She was born on November 7, 1867, and died on July 4, 1934. She was a French physicist and she is mostly known for her work on radioactivity. Marie Curie is actually the person that discovered radioactivity! Along with discovering radioactivity, she also discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium. How cool is that?

Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. The first woman! That really tells you how much her work affected the world! Along with being the first woman to win the prize, she was the first person to win the award twice— man or woman!

After Henri Becquerel’s discovery that uranium casts off rays weaker than X-rays, Curie decided to take it a few steps further and started conducting her own experiments.

She discovered that uranium rays remained constant, no matter the condition of the rays. She made a theory that the rays came from the element’s atomic structure.

This idea created the atomic physics field. Marie Curie named this phenomenon herself, radioactivity. After all of that, Marie and her husband worked and found the two elements: polonium and radium.

Another very interesting fact about Marie Curie is that she tried to help during World War I. Curie committed her time and resources to help out. She helped make portable X-ray machines and taught women how to use them for wounded soldiers during the war. These medical vehicles that had the X-rays in them were called “Little Curies”. This really helped everyone to know about Curie and what she did, so she became pretty popular.

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She used her fame to advance her research. She even travelled to the United States twice to raise funds to buy radium so that she could establish a radium research institute in Warsaw, her hometown.

Marie Curie really made an impact on the world and helped with so much research that people use everyday now. Thanks to her, we probably saved so many lives in World War I and continue to use X-rays and save lives today. She deserved both her Nobel Prizes and continues to be a role model today.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was also a female scientist that made a huge impact on the world. Franklin was born on July 25, 1920 and passed away on April 16, 1958. She died from ovarian cancer. They think she got cancer from extensive exposure to radiation. Franklin died, so she was never awarded a Nobel Prize, instead it was awarded to three other scientists that basically took her credit of all the hard work she had put in.

You are probably wondering, “Well what did Rosalind Franklin do?” She contributed to the discovery of something that is very important to scientists today. She helped discover the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA are an essential part of chromosomes that work to encode genetic information. She not only contributed to the work of finding that, but she also helped to find more about the structure of viruses. These outbreaking discoveries led to a new field called structural virology.

Franklin also wanted to help in World War II. She was determined. Franklin published a lot of papers about the structures and uses of coal and graphite. Her hard work did pay off, because they used her work to make gas masks. These gas masks helped keep British soldiers way safer and they had Franklin to thank for that. Because of her help in all of this, she earned a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.

People really didn’t recognize Franklin for all of her hard work. She was a very smart, hard worker and her work payed off, she just didn’t get really recognized or even honored for it. Now people have started honoring her for what she did and helped discover for this world, though. “Today there are many new facilities, scholarships and research grants especially those for women, being named in her honor.”

Alice Ball

Alice Ball was an African American chemist. She was born on July 24, 1892 and she passed away on December 31, 1916. She died at the age of 24. Ball made the first successful treatment for Hansen’s disease. Hansen’s disease is leprosy. Her treatment was later known as “The Ball Method”. Sadly, she died before she could see the full impact of her treatment on people’s lives.

Ball was a hard worker. She was the very first African American to graduate with a Master of Science degree in chemistry. She graduated from the College of Hawaii. After she graduated, she was offered a teaching job at the college and she was the college’s first woman chemistry professor. Ball was just 23 at the time! That just tells you how bright of a person she was.

As a chemistry professor at the college, she got access to the laboratory and that is where her research began to creating a treatment for leprosy. Her treatment was so effective that is was used on thousands of leprosy victims for over 30 years! They stopped using it because new sulfone drugs were made. “The Ball Method” helped cure so many people and get them sent back home to their families.

After a tragic death from inhaling chlorine gas from a lab experiment, she didn’t even get to see the influence that her treatment had on the whole world. She barely even got credit for what she did. After she died, the president of the college continued her research and did not give her any credit. What’s worse is he even called it his own discovery and said the treatment was called the “Dean Method”! Finally, the doctor who told her she should study the particular subject that soon led her to the treatment wrote a paper that gave Ball all of her credit for the treatment. Even after that was published she still barely received any credit.

The University of Hawaii now has a plaque on campus to honor and remember Ball and what she did for the world. They also offer a scholarship for students pursuing a degree in anything such as chemistry, biology, or even microbiology. Alice Ball is now getting the respect and credit that she deserved 100 years ago.


“Stoichiometry is the part of chemistry that studies amounts of substances that are involved in reactions.” You might use stoichiometry to figure out how much of a compound you need, or to see how much you either start of end with. When using stoichiometry, you can measure almost anything. Well, not anything, but you know what I mean. You could measure the mass of the reactants you have, the mass of the products that were made, any chemical equations, any molecular weights, and even any formulas or various compounds. Dimensional analysis also ties in with stoichiometry, it is actually a big part in it. Dimensional analysis is a common method used for doing stoichiometric calculations. Stoichiometry is an important part in not only chemistry, but also physics.

Dmitri Mendeleev

You probably know what the Periodic Table is, but do you know who developed it? Well, it was Dmitri Mendeleev. Mendeleev was born on January 27, 1834 and passed away on February 2, 1907. He is the person that organized all of the elements and had them placed appropriately to what they were.

It wasn’t an easy road to making the Periodic Table. Mendeleev didn’t just have the internet like us that he could go google something. In fact, not even all elements were discovered yet. He studied textbook after textbook to get where he did. How the Periodic Table came up was because of atomic weights. He started comparing different element groups and found similarities with the progression of atomic weights. With those similarities, he wondered if any other groups had similarities also. He started studying alkaline earth metals next and then he discovered that the order of atomic weights could not only arrange elements, but arrange the different groups as well.

After this big break through, Mendeleev created something called the “Periodic Law”. “His newly formulated law was announced before the Russian Chemical Society in March 1869 with the statement “elements arranged according to the value of their atomic weights present a clear periodicity of properties.” This law helped Mendeleev to build up his table with the 70 elements that were known at the time. Mendeleev even left spots for unknown elements to be placed.

Mendeleev came from a not-so-good home life. His father died when he was still a child and his mother died soon after. Even with all of these obstacles in his life, Mendeleev still managed to get through it and he made a huge discovery for our world. Without Mendeleev’s dedication and drive to discover new things, who knows where we would be today. Mendeleev created something that made a huge impact on the entire world!

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Chemistry and Famous Chemists. (2021, Nov 15). Retrieved from

Chemistry and Famous Chemists
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