Physics in Perspective

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 126–155 | Cite as

Ellen Gleditsch: Pioneer Woman in Radiochemistry

  • Annette LykknesEmail author
  • Helge KraghEmail author
  • Lise KvittingenEmail author
Original Article


We present the life and work of the Norwegian scientist Ellen Gleditsch (1879-1968) in the early era of radioactivity. From 1907-1912, Gleditsch worked as Marie Curie’s assistant in the Laboratoire Curie in Paris on the alleged copper-lithium radioactive transformation and on the radiumuranium ratio, as well as studying chemistry and related subjects at the Sorbonne. Later,in 1913-1914, she worked in Bertram Boltwood’s laboratory at Yale University on the half-life of radium. Gleditsch also was concerned with academic opportunities for women, and she became the president of the International Federation of University Women. As a professor, the second female professor in Norway, she initiated a research group on radioactivity at the University of Oslo.

Ellen Gleditsch Marie Curie Bertram B. Boltwood Ernest Rutherford William Ramsay Curie Laboratory University of Oslo International Federation of University Women radioactivity radiochemistry radiogeology radium half-life radium-uranium ratio 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser-Verlag Basel 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of History of Science, Ny MunkegadeUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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