Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Barbara S. Shearer | Go to book overview
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DOROTHY VIRGINIA NIGHTINGALE (1902- ) Chemist
Birth February 21, 1902
1922 A.B., University of Missouri
1923 A.M., University of Missouri
1923-39 Instructor, University of Missouri
1928 Ph.D., organic chemistry, University of Chicago
1938 Honors Fellow, University of Minnesota
1939-48 Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Missouri
1942-45 Civilian with Office of Scientific Research and
Development
1943-45 Committee on Medical Research--antimalarial
1946-47 Research Associate, University of California, Los Angeles
1948-58 Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Missouri
1958-72 Professor of Chemistry, University of Missouri
1959 Garvan Medal, American Chemical Society
1972- Professor Emerita, University of Missouri, Columbia

Dorothy Nightingale's work contributed much to the knowledge of organic synthetic reactions. Her career spanned a time of rapid discovery in organic chemistry, but it was also a time when the field was not very accepting of women scientists. Nightingale not only had to be quite brilliant at chemistry, but also had to have a tough shell to succeed. One special thing about her research was that she did not just make new molecules, she actually studied how the process happened. This kind of quantification, termed physical chemistry, was rare at that time. She did high-quality, difficult chemistry and a lot of it, compiling a very extensive publication record. In addition, her teaching was inspirational. On receiving the Garvan Medal, she said she wanted to continue to be "not common." 1

Dorothy Virginia Nightingale was born in 1902 to Jennie (Beem) and William David Nightingale of Fort Collins, Colorado. Jennie had taught in a country school and worked as a secretary in an Indianapolis orthopedic hospital before marrying rancher William in 1900. They home

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