Lucy Weston Pickett

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Lucy Weston Pickett
Lucy Weston Pickett.jpg
Lucy Weston Pickett
Born (1904-01-19)January 19, 1904
Beverly, Massachusetts
Died November 23, 1997(1997-11-23) (aged 93)

Lucy Weston Pickett (January 19, 1904 – November 23, 1997) was a Mary Lyon Professor and Camille and Henry Dreyfus Chair in Chemistry at Mount Holyoke College.

Her research on X-ray crystallography and ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy of organic molecules received numerous honors and was supported by grants from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Pickett was born on January 19, 1904 in Beverly, Massachusetts to Lucy Weston, a former schoolteacher and elementary school principal, and George Ernest Pickett, a former seaman. She had one brother, Thomas Austin Pickett, who also became a chemist. After attending high school in Beverly, she entered Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1921.[2]

Pickett received her B.A., summa cum laude, in 1925 and an MA in 1927 both in chemistry from Mount Holyoke. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois majoring in analytical chemistry with minors in both physical chemistry and physics. Her dissertation research explored the effects of X-rays on chemical reactions and the X-ray structures of organic compounds.[2]


Pickett taught at Illinois and Goucher College before returning to Mount Holyoke in 1930. She would stay there until she retired in 1968. During her 1932–1933 leave she worked with the famous X-ray crystallographer and Nobel Laureate Sir William Bragg at the Royal Institution, London. In 1939, on an Educational Foundation Fellowship she worked with Victor Henri at University of Liège, Belgium, and with George Kistiakowsky at Harvard.

Her colleagues and students created The Lucy Pickett, a lectureship designed to bring outstanding speakers to the Mount Holyoke campus. The first speaker was Robert Mulliken, 1966 Chemistry Nobel laureate, with whom Pickett had published a paper in 1954. In the 1970s, Pickett requested that the funds be used to honor women scientists.[2]


  • The effect of X-rays on chemical reactions...An X-ray study of the structure of organic compounds.

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Lucy Picket". Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Shearer, Benjamin F.; Shearer, Barbara Smith, eds. (1997). "Lucy Weston Pickett". Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary (1st ed.). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 311–314. ISBN 978-0-313-29303-0. 
  3. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter P" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]