Oesper Collection Highlights: Honoring African-American Chemists (St. Elmo Brady)

The Oesper Collections and Museum in the History of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati is pleased to present a new blog series, Oesper Collection Highlights.  We will feature items from our amazing collections of rare books, prints and portraits, and online collections that will inspire and educate all.  We thank our student intern, Brenna Kobes, for researching and preparing these posts.  If you have questions about the Oesper Museum, please contact Ted Baldwin, Ted.Baldwin@uc.edu, Director of the UC Science and Engineering Libraries. 

Our first installments in the Oesper Collection Highlights will celebrate African-American History Month. African-American Chemists selected for these profiles were early pioneers in the field – some were the first to achieve PhDs in chemistry, whereas others made significant contributions to study and practice. Sometimes their stories and voices have not been heard.  We aim to highlight and celebrate these accomplished African-American chemists who contributed across the spectrum of the chemistry discipline.

St. Elmo Brady

Born in 1884 in Louisville Kentucky, St. Elmo Brady (Fig. 1) is known as the first African American to earn a PhD in Chemistry. In 1905 he earned his bachelor’s in science from Fisk University which he would later return in 1927 to teach chemistry and organic chemistry, a position that he kept for 25 years until his retirement. While studying as Fisk, Brady met Thomas Talley who was a professor of chemistry at the university. His teachings helped to influence Brady and encourage his further studies in the field “I do not remember Thomas Talley for the chemistry he taught me, but for the encouragement and inspiration he gave me to go on” (Martin & Martin , 2006). He then completed his Master of Arts in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. There he co-wrote three papers with Professor Clarence Derick. Brady’s master thesis was written on the Scale Influence of Substitution in Organic Electrolytes (Fig. 2). Once finished, Brady began work on his

Fig. 2, MS thesis cover

Doctorate at the University of Illinois, where he worked in Noyes Laboratory. His thesis was written on the Divalent Oxygen Atom (Fig. 3).

In 1916, he accepted a position at Tuskegee University, then four years later he would move to Howard University. While at Howard, Brady became the chair of the chemistry department. Seven years later Brady would move once again, this time to Fisk University. Here he was chair of the Chemistry department and created the first graduate studies program at a black college. He

Fig. 3, PhD dissertation cover

spent 25 years here before retiring in 1952, leaving an impressive legacy behind. For all the teaching accomplishments that Brady is known for, very little is known about his published works. The works he did write were early in his career and were often co-authored with someone else. Besides his theses for both his Masters and Doctorate, the three abstracts he wrote with Professor Derick and the paper he wrote Professor Beal, the only other written work Brady did were three monographs on household chemistry for girls.

While there is a lack of published work for St Elmo Brady, it is hard to determine what could have caused this. While there is a real possibility that his work was rejected by publishers based on his race (Martin & Martin, 2006), it is also equally possible that Brady enjoyed teaching more than he did writing. Regardless of the amount of published works that Brady had, what cannot be ignored is the path he cleared for those who would follow him. Being the first at something takes courage to not only believe in yourself, but to also know that you are setting an example for so many to follow in the years to follow.

Author: Brenna Kobes (Intern, Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry

Bibliography

Brady, St. Elmo (1884-1966). (n.d.). Retrieved from University of Illnois Urbana-Champaign Department of Chemistry: https://chemistry.illinois.edu/spotlight/alumni/brady-st-elmo-1884-1966

Martin, D. F., & Martin , B. B. (2006). St. Elmo Brady (1884-1966): Pioneering Black Academic Chemist. Florida Scientist, 116-123.

Noyes Laboratory at the University of Illinois. (n.d.). Retrieved from acs.org: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/noyeslaboratory.html#st-elmo-brady-biography

Seeing the Story in Data Series – Kick off Talk – Vetria Byrd PhD

logo for the Data and Computational Science Series 20200

 

JOIN us for the first in a four part data visualization series entitled:

Seeing the Story in the Data

A well thought out and designed visualization can convey meaning and deep insight into vast amounts of data.  In this four part lecture series, data visualization researchers and experts will discuss visualizations from different disciplines and highlight choices made to find the “so what”.

This series is a part of the Data and Computational Science Series.

Our first speaker will be Vetria Byrd PhD Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University.  Dr. Byrd is interested in interdisciplinary research topics such as uncertainty visualization (it’s role and impact on reasoning in decision-making), big data, and high performance visualization.

Title: The Role of Data Visualization in Science and Computational Science

Date: March 2, 2022

Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST

 Please register https://ce.uc.edu/FacDev/Workshops/Details/17323 for the zoom link

This free event is hosted by UC Libraries Research and Data Serivces and the Office of Research – Research Computing and Data and funded by the Office of the Provost Universal Provider Grant and is open to all.

Oesper Collection Highlights: Honoring African-American Chemists (Alice Ball)

The Oesper Collections and Museum in the History of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati is pleased to present a new blog series, Oesper Collection Highlights.  We will feature items from our amazing collections of rare books, prints and portraits, and online collections that will inspire and educate all.  We thank our student intern, Brenna Kobes, for researching and preparing these posts.  If you have questions about the Oesper Museum, please contact Ted Baldwin, Ted.Baldwin@uc.edu, Director of the UC Science and Engineering Libraries. 

Our first installments in the Oesper Collection Highlights will celebrate African-American History Month. African-American Chemists selected for these profiles were early pioneers in the field – some were the first to achieve PhDs in chemistry, whereas others made significant contributions to study and practice. Sometimes their stories and voices have not been heard.  We aim to highlight and celebrate these accomplished African-American chemists who contributed across the spectrum of the chemistry discipline.

Alice Ball

Fig. 1, Alice Ball

Alice Ball (Figure 1) was born in 1892.  She is best known for developing the Ball Method, which was the best know treatment for leprosy in the 20th century.  Ball earned her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Hawaii and is known as the university’s first African-American professor as well as its first female professor. Her love for chemistry began early, thanks to her grandfather and parents, all of which worked in the photography field. The development of photographic images relied heavily on mercury vapors and iodine sensitized silver plates, all of which would have provided young Alice with a first glimpse of chemistry in action (Latchman, 2020).

In 1912, Ball completed a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Washington. Two years later, she completed a second bachelor’s degree in the science of pharmacy. While at the University of Washington, she co-wrote a pap­er with her professor Williams Dehn, entitled Benzoylations in Ether Solution” (Collins, 2016) . She was offered opportunities at both the University of California Berkeley and the College of Hawaii (now known as the University of Hawaii).  Ball accepted the latter and began work on her master’s degree in chemistry. Her research investigated the chemical properties of the Kava plant, a native of the Pacific islands. This deep understanding of the chemical properties of plants would later work in her favor.  She was invited to work and research alongside Harry T. Hollmann, then employed by the U.S. Public Health Service in Hawaii and serving as acting assistant surgeon at the Leprosy Investigation Station. Ball studied the chemical properties of chaulmoogra oil, derived from a tree of the same name and used medically for centuries. Several issues were present with use of the oil, however.  Topical application was very difficult due to its very sticky nature, the oil had an unpleasant taste which made ingestion hard for patients, and the oil could not be absorbed by the body – it simply just sat under the skin (Wermager & Heltzel, 2007). Ball developed her namesake method that isolated different compounds within the oil and modified them, thereby producing an oil that retained the medical benefits, but could be absorbed by the skin.

This method remains Ball’s greatest achievement, as she unexpectedly passed away just one year later at the age of 24. It is thought that she died of chlorine exposure and poisoning after teaching the proper way to use a gas mask.  However, the true cause is unknown. Ball did not publish her method and findings before her death.  Fellow chemist Arthur L. Dean stole her work and claimed it as his own work. Hollmann attempted to correct this error by crediting Ball in a paper published in 1922.  However, Ball’s contributions were not truly celebrated until the 1970s. when Kathryn Takara and Stanley Ali (two professors and historians at the University of Hawaii), were able to officially recognize her contributions to the field of chemistry. In 2000, the University of Hawaii honored Ball with a plaque placed at the school’s only chaulmoogra tree (Collins, 2016). In 2020, a short film (Fig. 2) titled The Ball Method was released. This film can be found on streaming video services Kanopy and Amazon Prime. The Ball Method details her life and the contributions that she made to the treatment of leprosy and the field of chemistry.

 

Author: Brenna Kobes, Intern for the Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry

Bibliography

Collins, S. N. (2016, May 12). Alice Augusta Ball: Chemical Drug Pioneer. United States of America .

Latchman, D. (2020, April 22). “The Ball Method” trailer introduces Alice Ball, who discovered treatment for leprosy. Retrieved from medium.com: https://medium.com/science-vs-hollywood/who-is-alice-ball-the-hero-behind-the-ball-method-short-film-69b7c5becc34

Mendheim, B. (2007, September). Lost and Found: Alice Augusta Ball an Extradordinary Woman of Hawai’i Nei. Northwest Hawai’i Times. Hawai’i, United States of America .

Wermager, P., & Heltzel, C. (2007, February). Alice A. Ball Young Chemist Gave Hope to Millions. ChemMatter, pp. 16-19.

New science e-journals

UC now has access to the many new e-journal titles, thanks to our OhioLINK statewide licenses. If you have questions, please contact Chemistry & Biology Ask-A-Librarian. Visit the Ralph E. Oesper Chemistry-Biology Library website to search for other e-journals.

Here are the newly available e-journals for chemistry.

Cover of Microscopy TodayMicroscopy Today

Microscopy Today (MTO) provides information of interest to microscopists working in all fields. Coverage spans all microscopy methods including development and applications in light microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, electron microscopy, ion-beam techniques, and a wide range of microanalytical methods. 

Continue reading

New engineering and technology e-journals

UC now has access to the many new e-journal titles, thanks to our OhioLINK statewide licenses. If you have questions, please contact Science & Engineering Ask-A-Librarian. Visit the College of Engineering and Applied Science Library website to search for other e-journals.

Here are the newly available e-journals for engineering and technology subjects.   

Cover of the journal 2D Materials 2D Materials

2D Materials™ is a multidisciplinary, electronic-only journal devoted to publishing fundamental and applied research of the highest quality and impact covering all aspects of graphene and related two-dimensional materials. 

 

 

Continue reading

New Books in the Science Libraries

Do you need something new to read to start your new year?  The Geology-Math-Physics and Langsam Libraries have added many new books to their shelves.

Click here to access the November-December 2021 list.

If you have any questions about these books, contact Ted Baldwin, Director of Science and Engineering Libraries, at Ted.Baldwin@uc.edu.

 

 

Love Data Week 2022

graphic representation of International Love Data Week

 

Love Data Week

UC celebrates International Love Data Week. Feb 14-18, 2022.

UC Libraries will celebrate Love Data Week by hosting several workshops and events around campus.

Love Data Week was started to promote data use in higher education by a collection of academic librarians. It has grown into an international movement where data resources, workshops and collections are showcased during Valentine’s Day week. Learn more about its history and other events at https://myumi.ch/ICPSRldw2022events. #LoveData22

The theme this year is “Data is for Everyone.”
Sponsored by the Research and Data Services Department at UC Libraries along with Office of Research -Research Technologies-Research Computing and Data and the Graduate School, there are events daily to support researchers in every aspect of the data lifecycle from Library, Research Computing, and graduate student team members.

Featuring classes on storage and sharing (GitHub), using GIS to tell a story in a user-friendly format (Intro to Story Maps), data analysis, Introduction to XSEDE Big Data and Machine learning, organizing information (for Grad Students), protecting your own data (Consumer Data Protection), and finding data through patents (Find Patents!), this week will have something for everyone! Continue reading

The University of Cincinnati Libraries Annual Progress Report, 2020-2021

Looking back as we plan our NEXT Directions.

This year’s Annual Progress Report covers July 2020 through June 2021. It was an exceptionally complicated time, during which we entered the second year of the pandemic, developed and adopted new digital resources to support remote learning and remote research and prepared for the transition back to campus for the 2021 fall semester.

In these unprecedented times, library faculty and staff continuously found ways to transform and elevate library services by bringing their experience, talents and dedication to the forefront so as to continue to fulfill our mission to “empower discovery, stimulate learning and inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, researchers and scholars to dynamic data, information and resources.” Continue reading

UC Libraries Closed Monday, Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. from LIFE Magazine

UC Libraries will be closed Monday, Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day . The libraries will resume normal hours on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Want to read up on Martin Luther King, Jr., his impact and legacy, and how you can make a difference? Check out these library resources and the Racial Justice Resources for Activists, Advocates and Allies Research Guide.

American Astronomical Society Journals Now Fully Open Access in 2022

Starting January 1st, 2022, the full journal portfolio of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) are now completely open access. The journals include the Astronomical Journal (AJ), the Astrophysical journal (ApJ)Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL), and the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (ApJS). The Planetary Science Journal is not affected by this transition as it is already open access. These journals consistently feature some of the most read and highest impact scientific research results in the astronomical sciences.  The AAS views this transition to open access as directly impacting the quality of scientific research, as stated by Editor in Chief, Ethan Vishniac, “Science works best when it is as transparent and as accessible as possible.” They also view this move as supporting their diversity, equity, and inclusion work in the astronomical community, as referenced in the following statement from their press release.

“The transition to OA will allow everyone to access this high-quality and trusted research, and it will offer scientists low-cost fully OA options for publishing their research in astronomy and related disciplines. The new publishing policy aligns with ongoing efforts by the Society to center diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work within the astronomical community.”

Read the full press release here: https://aas.org/press/aas-journals-open-access