Lucy Everest Boole

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Lucy Everest Boole
Born 5 August 1862
Cork, Ireland
Died 5 December 1904(1904-12-05) (aged 42)
Fields Chemistry, pharmacy
Institutions London School of Medicine for Women

Lucy Everest Boole FRSC (5 August 1862 – 5 December 1904) was an Irish chemist and pharmacist and the first female professor at the London School of Medicine for Women in the Royal Free Hospital.[1] She was the first female Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry.

Early life and education[edit]

Boole was born in 1862 in Cork, Ireland, where her father, mathematician and logician George Boole, was professor at Queen's College. Her mother, Mary Everest Boole, was a self-taught mathematician and educationalist with an interest in pedagogy. Lucy was the fourth of five sisters, many of whom were also notable. Her sister Alicia Boole was a mathematician and her sister Ethel Lilian Voynich was a novelist. George Boole died in 1864 leaving the family poor; they returned to England where her mother became a librarian at Queen's College, London.[2] Lucy was educated at a school attached to Queens' College but received no university education. She studied chemistry as a part of her training as a pharmacist.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Boole attended the School of the Pharmaceutical Society between 1883 and 1888, where she later became a researcher.[4] She became a demonstrator in chemistry in 1881 and a lecturer at the London School of Medicine in 1893. In 1894, she was elected the first female fellow of the Institute of Chemistry.[5] It is thought that she was the first female professor of Chemistry at Royal Free Hospital, London.[2] She published collectively with Sir Wyndham Dunstan, the director of the Imperial Institute in London including a paper 'An Enquiry into the Vessicating Constituent of Croton Oil' [6] She developed the procedure for analysis of tartar emetic which was proposed in an 1889 joint paper with Dunstan. It became the official method of assay until 1963.[7]

Later life[edit]

Lucy Boole never married and lived with her mother in Notting Hill, London.[8] Her mother summarized her career: "Lucy Everest Boole: never at any college. Learned Chemistry in order to qualify as dispenser or shop assistant in pharmacy. Became Fellow of the institute of Chemistry, Lecturer in Chemistry and Head of Chemical Laboratories at London School of Medicine for Women."[2] She became ill in 1897 and died in 1904 at the age of 42.[4] Little more is known about her life and works.


  1. ^ Chet Raymo (October 13, 2012). "THE BOY WHO WOULDN'T STAY 'IN HIS PLACE'". Boston Globe. Retrieved 4 June 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b c MacHale, Des; Mac Lellan, Anne. Mulvihill, Mary, ed. Lab Coats and Lace. Women in Technology and Science. pp. 61–71. 
  3. ^ Andrews, Helen. "Alicia Boole". Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Rayner-Canham, Marlene; Geof Rayner-Canham (2008). Chemistry was Their Life. London: Imperial College Press. pp. 158–159. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Notes - Mainly Personal". Dundee Evening Telegraph. 24 December 1894. Retrieved 4 June 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ Gerry Kennedy, The Booles and the Hintons, Atrium Press, July 2016.
  7. ^ Creese, Mary R. S. "Boole , Mary (1832–1916)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Boole, Lucy Everest". Ask About Ireland. Department of the Environment, Community, and Local Government, Ireland. Retrieved 19 October 2012.