alicia_augusta_ball

Alice Ball was a chemist who created the “Ball method,” an injectable cure for leprosy. She was also the first African American and the first woman to attend the University of Hawaii. At the time when Ball was working in the early 1900s, Hansen’s disease (leprosy) was spreading. People suffering from the disease were arrested and segregated in the Kalaupapa leper colony in Hawaii. Ball knew that if chaulmoogra oil could be mixed with water, it could provide relief to the sick. At only age 23, she discovered a method to mix the oil and water and create an injectable treatment. This meant that new patients were not forced to live in isolation, because they were no longer feared as contagious. Sadly, Ball died very young while teaching, likely because of accidental inhalation of chlorine gas.

Source: Rachel Ignotofsky, Women in Science

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