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Alice Ball

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When Alice was a girl she became fascinated with chemistry. One day in her parents photography studio, while she was treating the silver-plated copper with fumes, the chemicals surrounded her and she passed out. When she awoke she found she could absorb any natural material.
Alice Augusta Ball
Born: 1892
Died: 1916
Occupation: Chemist
Nationality: American

Alice was born in Seattle, USA in 1892. Her love of chemistry is said to have come from her grandfather. He was photographer and worked with mercury vapours and iodine sensitised silver plates to develop photos. Alice studied chemistry at the University of Washington and after graduating she decided to study for a master's degree in chemistry at the College of Hawaii.

Alice researched chaulmoogra oil and its use in the treatment of leprosy and developed a much more effective injectable form. In 1915 she became the first woman and first African American to graduate with a master's degree from the College of Hawaii. Unfortunately, Alice died a year later, at age 24. Due to her untimely death she was unable to publish her findings and Arthur L. Dean stole her work and began producing large quantities of the injectable chaulmoogra extract.It was not until years later that Ball was credited for her work.

Did you know?
  1. Alice's passion for chemistry may have started in her grandfathers photography studio as she observed the daguerreotype process.
  2. Alice was the first woman to earn a master's degree in chemistry from the university of Hawaii.
  3. After her death, Arthur L. Dean continued her work but never credited Alice for the discovery. We might never have known about her except for a mention in a 1922 medical journal, in which an author makes it plain that Ball created the chaulmoogra solution, referring to it as the "Ball Method."
  4. Alice's grandfather was famous photographer James Presley Ball, her mother was also a photographer.
Don't miss out on additional educational resources - just scroll down the page and learn more about Alice.
Top Quarkz
Alice features in our signature card game, Top Quarkz. The game supports development of maths, literacy and decision making skills all while learning about some of the most impressive scientific discoveries throughout history.

We've explained the drawing and her playing card below so you can learn more about both her superhero and her real-life identity.
We gave Alice this superpower as she developed a treatment for leprosy absorbable by the body limiting side effects.
The background of this drawing is Homolulu. In 1915 she became the first woman and first African American to graduate with a master's degree from the College of Hawaii.
The bubble Alice is in represents one of the side effects of chaulmoogra oil injections. The oil would clump under the skin and form blisters in perfect rows that made it look like bubble wrap. Alice's developed a technique to make the oil injectable and absorbable by the body limiting these side effects.
Alice created an ester compound which became the preferred treatment for leprosy until the 1940s. Alice helped saved millions of lives
Why did we pick this location for Alice's card? Alice and her family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1903.
Alice's side-kick is Indira Nath. Indira is an immunologist researching the reactions and nerve damage in leprosy.
A 1917 article suggested that the cause of Alice's death may have been Chlorine poisoning.
Top Quarkz Card Explained
Each drawing we create has one or more hidden treasure(s) about our superheroes' life experiences, depictions in art, jobs or discoveries. Did you find the ones hidden in this drawing?
Hidden Treasures
We have packed a lot into our cards - from amazing imagined superpowers to biographical information and hidden treasures.
What Do Chemists Do?
Check out the video about a day in the work life of a chemist. Follow Hilary Corkran's and find out where science and chemistry can take you.
Video credit: careersnz
find out how we use chemistry in everyday life in this great video by Binogi.
The Importance of Chemistry
What is Leprosy?
For centuries people believed that leprosy was very contagious. We now know how leprosy spreads but there is still a lot that we don't know about the disease, in this video look at how the disease works inside the body.
Fun Facts about Steam Engines
People who work in chemistry are called chemists. Chemists study the substances that make up matter.

They also study the changes that take place when substances are combined. These changes are called chemical reactions.
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