Lucy Weston Pickett, a chemist renowned for her investigations of organic molecules by X-ray crystallography and ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy

Lucy Pickett

January 19, 1904, in Beverly, Massachusetts (United States) – November 23, 1997, in Bradenton, Florida (United States)

He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in 1925, received an M.A. in Chemistry two years later, and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1930, with a thesis on the study of the effects of X-rays on chemical reactions and the structures of organic compounds.

He mainly devoted himself to teaching in the Chemistry Department of the university in his hometown until his retirement in 1968, except for short periods of time. In 1945, she got a position as Professor of Chemistry.

In the early 1930s, he did a postdoc in London with the crystallographer and Nobel Prize winner William Bragg. When he returned, he tried to apply his newly acquired knowledge in X-ray crystallography, however, his university was not equipped with the necessary instrumentation, so he decided to use spectroscopy techniques instead.

In 1939, he received a research grant to work with the spectroscopist Victor Henri at the University of Leija (Belgium) and with George Kistiakowsky at Harvard (United States).

Between 1947 and 1948, she was a visiting professor at the University of Berkeley and collaborated with Linus Pauling.

Her recognition was not only for her scientific activities but also for her work as an educator and her publications in the field of spectroscopy and education.

A foundation was created in his name at Mount Holyoke with the goal of inviting exceptional speakers to give seminars. The first of them was Robert Mulliken, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1966, with whom Pickett had published an article in 1954 on the spectroscopy study of the benzene ion.

Since 1974, the Lucy Pickett Chair created in her honor by her colleagues, students and friends at the time of her retirement, at the honoree's request, honors women scientists.

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