Katsuko Saruhashi was born in the year 1920 in Tokyo. She graduated from the Imperial Women's College of Science in 1943 and later joined the Meteorological Research Institute. She worked in the Geochemical lab and was the first woman to earn a doctorate in chemistry in 1957 from the University of Tokyo. She was first one to take measurements of carbon dioxide in seawater and was also the first one to measure radioactive material present in the seawater.
She made some remarkable discoveries as a geochemist and was also ahead in the field of nuclear research. She was one of the first scientists to discover radioactive fallouts across the oceans. She was also attracted by the fascination and curiosity of the raindrops which drove her to study about them. She did some major research on acid rain and its effect during 1970s and 1980s.
Apart from her groundbreaking work, she did a lot to promote and encourage women in the field of science. She established the Society of Japanese Women Scientists to help women in field of science. She was the first woman to get elected to Science Council of Japan. In 1979, she became the executive director of Japan's Geochemical Laboratory in 1979. If all that was not enough, her work towards science and women's equal rights gained so much respect that Saruhashi prize was named after her and is awarded annually to Japanese women researchers since 1981.
By: Neha Maheshwari