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Nuclear Physics

Picture of Ellen Gleditsch

Ellen Gleditsch


Additional Information

Some Important Contributions

Careful measurements of the half-life of radium confirmed Rutherford's downward revision of an important calibration standard of radioactivity - the radium standard.

Demonstration that the ratio of uranium to radium differs for different radioactive minerals.

Numerous careful studies of radioactivity.

Some Important Publications

"The Life of Radium," American Journal of Science 41:112 (1916).

"Ratio Between Uranium and Radium in the Radio-active Minerals," Comptes Rendus 149:267 (1909).

"Sur le rapport entre l'uranium et le radium dans les mineraux actifs," Radium 8:256 (1911).

"Sur le radium et l'uranium contenus dans les mineraux radioactifs," Comptes Rendus 148:1451 (1909)

"Action de l'emanation du radium sur les solutions des sels de cuivre," Comptes Rendus 147:345 (1908), with M. Curie.


Award from Dowager Queen Josephine's legacy to study chemistry in France 1906

Honorary Doctorates from Smith College, Sorbonne, and University of Strasbourg <


1903-07 Assistant Lecturer, Chemical Laboratory, University of Oslo

1907-12 Curie Institute

1913-14 worked with Bertram Boltwood at Yale

1914-16 Fellow, Chemistry, University of Oslo

1916-29 Reader in Chemistry, University of Oslo

1929-46 Professor of Chemistry, University of Oslo


Licenciee des Sciences, Sorbonne 1912


Biography in Norwegian - T. Kronen and A. Pappas, ELLEN GLEDITSCH , Aventura, Oslo, 1987.

Rayner-Canham and Rayner-Canham, "Pioneer women in nuclear science," Am J. Phys.,58,11: 1036 (1990).

Recommended reading: "A Devotion to Their Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity" by Marelene Rayner-Canham and Geoffrey Rayner-Canham [r-c1998].

Additional Information/Comments

In the 1930's, Gleditsch worked to help political refugees, and several refugee scientists were offered positions in her laboratories. One of these refugees wa Hertha Sponer who was dismissed from the faculty of the University of Göttingen in 1934 (because she was a woman). Gleditsch was instrumental in securing a visiting professorship for her at the University of Oslo. Another wa Marietta Blau who worked in Oslo with Gleditsch after the Anschluss in 1938 (it was not safe for Blau to return to Vienna then because she was a Jew).

During WWII, Gleditsch actively supported the resistance movement.

President of the International Federation of University Women 1926-29.

Submitted by:


Edited by: C. W. Wong/ n.b.


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