Meet Katsuko Saruhashi, a resilient geochemist who detected nuclear fallout in the Pacific
Determining the measure of a great scientist is a challenge. Is it an enormous contribution to science, noted by awards and distinctions? Publications in peer reviewed journals or keynotes at conferences? Serving as an expert to governments, effecting change on national and international policy? Or can this measure be more granular: beyond being a role model, to be present and provide sustaining mentorship, lifting up others?
No matter how you slice it, Katsuko Saruhashi is one such great scientist, and a woman who certainly lived up to her name, which translates to strong-minded or victorious in Japanese. Not only did she conduct groundbreaking research — developing the first method to measure carbon dioxide levels in seawater — but her work also made waves internationally, as she tracked and raised a global alarm on the dangers of nuclear testing. Throughout her 35-year career as a geochemist, she collected numerous awards and led the way for women to follow her in science.
Read more at the Massive Science Consortium.