Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Barbara S. Shearer | Go to book overview
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as a guinea pig for her studies on sulfur metabolism, often at the risk of her own health. In addition, she was highly resourceful. When she started at the Institute she had neither adequate staffing nor equipment nor funding, with the exception of a $500 grant received in 1939. Only a few years later, Medes had a staff of a dozen assistants and grants totaling $32,000. 9 She published her findings--over 100 articles--in many prominent scientific journals and three books up until only a few months before her death. She also collaborated with other researchers on a number of research projects, including her studies of fatty acid metabolism.

After her retirement in 1956, Medes resumed her research on tyrosinosis at the Fels Research Institute, Temple University, where she was a visiting scientist. Her studies there led to additional publications in the field. Medes continued her work at Fels, even though she was in declining health and suffering from the results of a serious car accident. She died on December 31, 1967, in Philadelphia.

To her friends, Medes was "a woman of simple tastes with a ready smile, whose work and hobby were fused in an interest in biochemistry. She did, none-the-less, take a bit of time for cabinet-making, gardening, and camping." 10 She was also a dedicated sister, caring for a brother in Philadelphia until his death. The niece of her good friend, with whom Medes spent many holidays, quoted her as saying that she "liked to get to bed early and couldn't wait for the next day to come so she could get on with her work." 11

Paris Svoronos, "Grace Medes (1886-1967)," in Women in Chemistry and Physics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook, eds. Louise S. Grinstein, Rose K. Rose, and Miriam Rafailovich ( Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993), p. 388.
"Grace Medes. Garvan Medal," Chemical and Engineering News 33 ( April 11, 1955): 1515.
Symposium on Tyrosinosis: In Honor of Grace Medes, June 2-3, 1965 ( Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1966).
Ethel Echtemach Bishop, "Grace Medes: 1886-1967," in American Chemists and Chemical Engineers, ed. Wyndham D. Miles ( Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society, 1976), p. 330.
Patricia J. Siegel and K. Thomas Finley, Women in the Scientific Search: An American Biobibliography ( Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1985), p. 130.
Svoronos, "Grace Medes (1886-1967)," p. 388.
Bishop, "Grace Medes: 1886-1967," p. 331.


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