Katharine Burr Blodgett Facts

Katharine Burr Blodgett Facts
Katharine Burr Blodgett (January 10, 1898 to October 12, 1979) became, in 1926, the first woman to receive a PhD in physics from Cambridge University. She was an engineer at General Electric where she invented low-reflectance glass.
Interesting Katharine Burr Blodgett Facts:
Blodgett was born in Schenectady, New York where he father was a patent attorney for General Electric.
Her father was killed in a home invasion just before her birth and her mother moved with her daughter Katharine and her son, George to New York City.
In 1912 she was enrolled in the prestigious and private Rayson School.
She won a scholarship to Bryn Mawr and in 1917 earned her B.A in mathematics.
In 1918 she enrolled in the University of Chicago and for her master's thesis topic chose the chemical structure of gas masks.
In 1921 he published a paper in the scientific journal, Physical Review, detailing her research into the use of carbon to absorb poisonous gases.
In 1918 she became the first woman scientist hired by the General Electric research department.
In 1924 she was awarded a position in the PhD program at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University and in 1926 she earned her PhD in physics with her dissertation on the behavior of electrons in ionized mercury vapor.
She returned to GE and worked in with Irving Langmuir who had pioneered the technique for creating single-molecule thick films on water.
They studied the application of the technique to lipids, polymers and proteins and in 1935 they discovered ways to create monomolecular coatings on metal and glass.
Using the Langmuir-Blodgett trough they created, she developed practical uses for the films.
Her breakthrough was coating glass with 44 layers of barium stearate film which produced a glass which was 99% transmissive, and was known as "invisible glass."
The low reflectance glass had many industrial applications including in lens for cameras and projectors, submarine periscopes and aerial spy cameras.
Blodgett invented a way to measure the thicknesses of coatings on glass to one millionth of an inch using the concept that different thicknesses of coating are different colors.
Working to improve the light bulb, Blodgett and Langmuir explored electrical discharges in gases and laid the framework for future studies in plasma physics.
Between 1940 and 1953 Blodgett was awarded 8 U.S. patents and was the inventor of poison gas absorbents, airplane wing deicers and methods for improving smokescreens.
In 1945 she received the Achievement Award from the American Association of University Women.
In 1951 she was awarded the Francis Garvan Medal from the American Chemical Society and was chosen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a "woman of achievement."


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