Remziye Hisar

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Remziye Hisar
Born 1902
Üsküp, Ottoman Empire
Died 1992 (aged 89–90)
İstanbuli Turkey
Resting place İstanbul
Nationality Turkish
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Baku, Adana, İstanbul
Alma mater
Thesis  (1933)
Doctoral advisor Paul Pascal
Notable awards TÜBİTAK
Spouse Reşit Süreyya Gürsey (married 1920-1930 )
Children Feza Gürsey (1921-1992), Deha Gürsey Owens (born 1924)

Remziye Hisar (1902-1992) was a Turkish academic and chemist. She is considered to be one of the first modern female scientists of her country.

Early years[edit]

She was born 1902 in Üsküp, Republic of Macedonia, then in the Ottoman Empire, where her father Salih Hulusi was appointed as a civil servant. Her mother was Ayşe Refia.[1][2] One year after the proclamation of the Second Constitution, the family returned to Istanbul in 1909.[3]

She was enrolled in a primary school while her grandmother hosted the family in her house. Remziye finished the 3-grade school in one year only earning her first diploma. With the appointment of her father to another place in Istanbul, the family moved again and she was schooled for the secondary education at different places on both sides of Bosporus. She then followed her teacher, who was appointed to the Girls' Teachers High School (Ottoman Turkish: Dârülmuallimât). She studied five years at the boarding school in Çapa, Fatih including the two additional years, which enabled study at a higher educational institution. Remziye was educated in natural science at "Darülfünun" (forerunner of today's Istanbul University), where her primary interest was in chemistry. She graduated with honors on July 15, 1919.[3]

Right after graduation, she joined a small group of her female schoolmates to go to Baku, Azerbaijan to serve there at a teacher's college. The group sailed to Batumi, and took a three-day train ride to Baku. During a dinner in Baku, given by a wealthy Azeri, Remziye met Reşit Süreyya (later surnamed Gürsey), a medicine doctor from Turkey. The couple engaged on March 18, 1920 and married one month later on April 20. Very soon after, she and her husband left Azerbaijan, which got invaded by the Soviet Army, and returned to Istanbul.[3]

On April 7, 1921, she gave birth to her son Feza (Gürsey), who later became a notable mathematician and physicist. She received a call from her former teacher, who in the meantime had become a director of education in the ministry, to go to Adana for serving there as a teacher. Remziye went there by sea via Mersin after leaving her one-and-half years old son to her mother and elder sister in İstanbul. She taught mathematics at a two-class school.[3]

After one year, she followed her husband to Paris, France to complete her higher education. In 1924, her daughter Deha (Gürsey Owens) was born in Paris, who became later the Turkish member of International Psychology Association.[4] There, she was educated in chemistry at Sorbonne University, also being a student of Marie Curie. During this time, she received a schlorship from the Turkish government, and her son was with her sister in Paris. Remziye earned a certificate in biochemistry, and wanted to conduct doctoral studies. However, she had to return home due to omission of her scholarship with the completion of her education.[3]


Arrived in Istanbul, she was appointed administrative staff at Erenköy Girls High School. Remziye did not like the post because she wanted to teach chemistry. Her application to study for her PhD degree on scholarship in Paris was initially rejected. So, she applied for a vacant chemistry teacher's position at the Mining Engineering School in Zonguldak. Thereupon, Minister of Education Cemal Hüsnü (Taray) offered her a scholarship for doctoral studies in France, and her son Feza's entry into the renowned Galatasaray High School as a free-of-charge boarding student.[3]

In 1930, the couple divorced. She took her daughter Deha and her younger sister Mihri along with her to Paris, where the sister cared for the daughter. She conducted research on Metaphosphate by Paul Pascal (1880-1968) receiving her PhD title three years later with honors.[3]

In 1933, Remziye returned home. She was appointed associate professor of general chemistry and physical chemistry at Istanbul University, which had recently underwent an organizational reformation. In 1936, she moved Ankara to take the post of a specialist for biochemistry at the Pharmacodynamics Department of Public Health Institut.[3]

In 1947, Remziye, who had adopted the surname Hisar following the commencement of Law on family names in 1934, went to Istanbul Technical University to take again the post of associate professor in chemistry at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry. She was promoted to full professor in 1959. In 1973, she retired.[2][3]

Later years[edit]

After her retirement, Remziye Hisar lived in her house at Anadoluhisarı inherited from her father. She died soon after hearing the death of her son Feza in 1992.[1]


In 1991, she was rewarded by Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).


  1. ^ a b "Remziye Hisar" (in Turkish). Kimdir?. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b "Remziye Hisar" (PDF) (in Turkish). Tubitak. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Bir "Çalıkuşu" Öyküsü... İlk Kadın Kimyacımız-Remziye Hisar" (PDF) (in Turkish). Bilim Tarihi. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  4. ^ "Feza Gürsey" (in Turkish). Online Fizik. Retrieved 2013-05-07.