Marguerite Catherine Perey

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Marguerite Catherine Perey

1909-1975

French nuclear chemist who discovered francium, the last naturally occurring element to be found (1939). Perey's discovery is especially remarkable because the total quantity of francium in the earth's crust is less than 24.5 grams. Perey was the first woman elected to the Académie des Sciences (1962), which had been closed to women since its founding in 1662. In 1949 she was appointed to the University of Strasbourg's new chair of nuclear chemistry.