“There are many women who have the ability to become great scientists. I would like to see the day when women can contribute to science & technology on an equal footing with men,” said Katsuko Saruhashi, a Japanese scientist whom Google Thursday paid tributes to on her 98th birth anniversary. Saruhashi, born on March 22, 1920 in Tokyo, is renowned for her groundbreaking research as a geochemist.
Saruhashi was the first to accurately measure the concentration of carbonic acid in water based on temperature, pH Level, and chlorinity. Named the ‘Saruhashi’s Table’ after her, this methodology has proved invaluable to oceanographers everywhere. She also developed a technique to trace the travel of radioactive fallout across the oceans that led to restricting oceanic nuclear experimentation in 1963.
“Today on her 98th birthday, we pay tribute to Dr Katsuko Saruhashi for her incredible contributions to science, and for inspiring young scientists everywhere to succeed,” wrote Google in its blog. “A young Katsuko Saruhashi sat in primary school watching raindrops slide down a window and wondered what made it rain. Her journey for answers led her to become the first woman to earn a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Tokyo in 1957,” it added.
In a career which spanned over 35 years, Saruhashi became the first woman elected to the Science Council of Japan in 1980 and also the first woman to be honoured with the Miyake Prize for geochemistry in 1985. She was deeply committed to inspiring young women to study science, and in 1981, she established the Saruhashi Prize in 1981 which recognised female scientists for distinguished research in natural sciences.
Saruhashi passed away on September 29, 2007, at the age of 87 of pneumonia at her home in Tokyo.