Graduates 2013/1913: Ada Hitchins

Congratulations to the students from the school of Chemistry who graduate today at 4pm!

To celebrate we are featuring 1913 graduate Ada Hitchins (1891-1972) who achieved a BSc at the University and who went on to do great things in the field of Chemistry.

Ada's matriculation slip for 1912-13 (R8/5/33/10)

Ada’s matriculation slip for 1912-13 (R8/5/33/10)

Ada began studying at the University from 1909 until her graduation and she did very well; gaining prizes in Botany, Geology, and she gained a special distinction in Chemistry.

In the last year of her undergraduate degree she began working with Nobel Prize winning chemist, and lecturer at the University, Frederick Soddy (1877-1956). Together they worked on the establishment of the disintegration theory by proving the growth of radium from uranium.

Soddy's Radiation Apparatus (GUSC309)

Soddy’s Radiation Apparatus (GUSC309)

The research: a search for the higher atomic weight value of lead derived from thorium-232 decay, was also pursued by the Czech-Austrian chemist Hönigschmid (1878-1945) and so Ada’s separation and analysis work benefited both Soddy and Hönigschmid.

Soddy, in the report of his definitive result of 207.74 for the atomic weight value, noted the contribution that Ada had made to his research. He said of her:

“… the experiments were continued for a time by Miss Ada Hitchins … Her valuable assistance has contributed very materially to the definiteness of the conclusions that it has been possible to arrive at.”
(F. Soddy and J. A. Cranston, “The Parent of Actinium,” Proc. R. Soc., Part A, 1918, 94, 385-405)

See her University Story Profile here for more information.

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