Essay Example on Schenectady New York Katharine Burr Blodgett was born to a loving Mother

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On January 10 1898 in Schenectady New York Katharine Burr Blodgett was born to a loving mother and older brother Her father had died only weeks before her birth he worked as patent lawyer for the General Electric Company Her family moved to France in 1901 Katharine fell in love with mathematics at her schools In 1912 her family moved to New York City and sent Katharine to a boarding school called Rayson School for Young Women She graduated high school at age 15 and received a scholarship to attend Bryn Mawr College which at the time was known as a women's Ivy League college This college is where she first became interested in physics She received her Bachelor of Arts for sciences degree at age 19 She then attended the University of Chicago to obtain her master s degree After college she travelled around trying to find work She went to upstate New York to where she was born Schenectady While she was here she visited her father s old place of work The General Electric Company She went on a tour there and her dads old colleagues introduced her to Irving Langmuir a chemist and physics researcher at the company He recognized her intelligence and invited her to study with him at the company She studied under him for nearly six years when he proposed to her that she should go back to school and get her doctorate in science Katharine agreed and went to study physics and chemistry at Cambridge University She graduated from the university in 1926 and was the first woman to ever be awarded a doctorate in physics from Cambridge 



This was only the beginning of her breaking barriers for women in science fields She returned to The General Electric Company only this time she was officially employed and was the first ever female scientist to be hired Langmuir urged her to participate in a few of his earlier studies including how substances stick to each other at the molecular level This led him to discover how to create thin films on the surface of water that were only one molecule thick called gossamer films Blodgett wanted a practical use for these films so she started to apply this knowledge by dipping a metal plate into water that is covered in oil She dipped the same plate multiple times which allowed her to create layers on the plate She was soon able to control the thickness of the films to the exact molecule This method is how she invented invisible glass she added layers upon layers of film to both sides to sheets of glass until the visible light reflected by the layers cancelled that reflected by the glass This invention received a patent on March 16 1938 and is used in many objects today The first place this glass was put to test was on camera lenses The first movie that was released with this new technology was Gone With The Wind the crystal clear cinematography excited audiences to no end on it s release date in 1939 These color films continued to invigorate the public as non reflective lenses were used for cameras and projectors during the postwar movie industry World War II found more uses for this glass it was used in airplane spy cameras and submarine periscopes giving troops a clearer view of what was happening than ever before Nowadays this glass is seen in computer and phone screens eyeglasses windshields and practically everything that needs a transparent surface Scientists today are still studying Blodgett s films in hopes of finding new uses of her technology Invisible glass is not the only thing she discovered she is also credited for helping improve smokescreens She worked off of German physicist Gustav Mie s discovery of scattering light known as the Mie 



Theory She included her research on the properties of charcoal to the already existing smoke screen and improved it by discovering that the light rays that interact with electrically charged components of atoms making up the smoke This made a thicker and longer lasting smokescreen that saved many troops lives by making them invisible to the enemy While in studying in Chicago she wrote her master's thesis topic on the structure of gas masks She published a paper in the Physical Review which detailed her and Harvey B Lemon s research in molecular physics and their findings of carbon being used to absorb toxic gases in gas masks Their improved gas masks saved countless lives during World War II also The last notable discovery she took a part in was Langmuir s improvement of the light bulb by exploring electrical discharges of ionized gas or what they termed plasma They used the term plasma to refer to ionized gas because it reminded them of the way blood plasma carries red and white cells and how electrical fluid carries electrons and ions They were specifically studying the physics of tungsten filament light bulbs and a way to extend the lifetime of the filament In the process they developed the theory of plasma sheaths which is the boundary layer between ionized plasmas and solid surfaces This discovery set the basis of plasma physics Katharine has been given many awards including the Garvan Medal in 1951 She was granted eight different patents for her different discoveries throughout her career And some more medals include Progress Medal from the Photographic Society of America American Physical Society Fellow and Boston First Assembly of American Women of Achievement honored scientist In 2007 she was recognized for her many accomplishments and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame And lastly in 2016 by the Institute of Physics a medal formerly known as the Business and Innovation Medal was renamed the Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize to recognize her contributions to physics


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