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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Day in Science History - January 28 - Kathleen Yardley Lonsdale

January 28th is Kathleen Yardley Lonsdale's birthday. Lonsdale was a leading figure in the field of crystallography. She began her work in the laboratory of William Bragg developing the techniques of x-ray crystallography. Her early work centered on simple molecules and branched into more complex organic compounds. She was the first to verify the shape of the benzene molecule. She showed the six carbon atoms that make up benzene were laid out in a flat hexagon.

Her later research involved x-ray crystallography of pharmaceuticals and other biochemical compounds. The Royal Society elected her as their first female Fellow in 1945 to honor her work.

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