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Lermontova, Julia (1846–1919)

Lermontova, Julia (1846–1919)

Russian-German chemist. Name variations: Yulua Vsevolodovna Lermontova. Born in 1846; died in 1919; friend of Sophia Kovalevskaya (1850–1891).

In 1869, because Russian universities were closed to women, Julia Lermontova and Sophia Kovalevskaya journeyed to Heidelberg to study for two years. Though the twosome could not register, they were allowed to attend lectures; the Germans were slightly less myopic when it came to women. Lermontova moved on to Berlin, published an article on her research on diphenene, and was awarded a degree from the University of Göttingen in absentia with her thesis, "The Study of Methylene Compounds."

She then returned to Russia to work in the Moscow University laboratory of V.V. Markownikov. From there, she went to St. Petersburg to work with A.M. Butlerov. Her findings, concerning the catalytic synthesis of the dimer and trimer of isobutylene and of 2-butyne, were published in 1881. Summoned back to Moscow because of family problems, Lermontova again worked with Markownikov, aiding in his research on petroleum. Five years later, Julia Lermontova had to retire as a chemist in order to take on family obligations.

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