14 December – 1910-1920: Moseley, Gleditsch & Ball
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Day 14 of the chemistry advent timeline features two scientists whose careers were cut tragically short, and another who emerged from Marie Curie’s lab to carry out important research on radioactive substances.
Henry Moseley carried out work on atomic structure which led to the periodic table being arranged by atomic number, as it is today. He was killed during World War I at the age of 28. Some consider that he may well have won a Nobel Prize for his work if not for his untimely death.
Ellen Gleditsch worked under Marie Curie, and then went on to establish the half-life of radium and contribute towards the confirmation of the existence of isotopes.
Alice Augusta Ball developed an injectable treatment for leprosy which became the standard for many years. She died before her work was published, and her colleague eventually published her work without crediting her. The University of Hawaii, where she carried out her research, did not recognise and commemorate her work until 2000.