Julia Lermontova: an early pioneer

A framed portrati of Julia Lermontova

Source: Photograph © Historic Images/Alamy Stock Photo/Frame © Swindler & Swindler @ Folio Art

Katharine Sanderson tells the story of a 19th century Russian chemist who made contributions across a range of chemistry

Julia Lermontova was not only the first Russian woman to be awarded a doctorate for chemistry but also the first woman to do so at a German university. Her scientific contributions have largely been forgotten to history, but during her lifetime she was widely respected by her male contemporaries including Dmitri Mendeleev – who asked her to help in ordering elements in his nascent periodic table – and her work on hydrocarbons were an important contribution at the time.