, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 251-252
Date: 06 Oct 2011

Anne-Marie Weidler Kubanek: Nothing less than an adventure: Ellen Gleditsch and her life in science

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In the celebration of the outstanding contributions of Marie Curie, it is widely overlooked that there were other women active in the field of radioactivity during that period. Ellen Gleditsch was one of those forgotten women radiochemists. This definitive book by Kubanek finally brings recognition of the contributions of Gleditsch to the English-speaking world. In addition to researching correspondence of Gleditsch with contemporary scientists, Kubanek painstakingly tracked down and interviewed surviving relatives, friends, and former students of Gleditsch. Kubanek has woven their commentaries into this fascinating biographical study.

Gleditsch was born in 1879 at Mandal in southern Norway. Having a fascination with science from an early age, she excelled in school, particularly mathematics. Had she been a boy, Gleditsch would have progressed to university: instead, her father found her a position as a pharmacy assistant. After qualifying as a pharmacist, Gleditsch tried to obtain a un