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Notable Women in Science

Alice Ball (1892 - 1916)

Born in 1892, Ball became the first woman to graduate from what would become the University of Hawaii with a master's degree in science. She was clearly a talented chemist, especially interested in using oil from the chaulmoogra tree as a potential cure for leprosy. Although it had been used topically to treat many conditions for hundreds of years, she suspected it would be more effective if it could be injected — and she was right.

After becoming an instructor at the university (the first Black woman to hold such a position), she isolated compounds from the oil for the first time that allowed it to be made into an injectable drug. It was then used as a leprosy treatment until the 1940s when other drugs were developed.

Source: 12 Women Whose Names You Should Know Sarah Jacoby


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