New Delhi: Google on Wednesday honoured Katsuko Saruhashi, a Japanese scientist, whose list of achievements is wide. She was a geochemist who made some of the first measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in seawater. Saruhashi did pioneering to prove how the effects of radioactivity fallout can spread across the entire world and not just affect the immediate area. Later Saruhashi turned her attention to studying acid rain and its effects.
In its citation, Google wrote, “Today on her 98th birthday, we pay tribute to Dr Katsuko Saruhashi for her incredible contributions to science, and for inspiring young scientists everywhere to succeed.”
It added, “She was the first to accurately measure the concentration of carbonic acid in water based on temperature, pH Level, and chlorinity. Named ‘Saruhashi’s Table’ after her, this methodology has proved invaluable to oceanographers everywhere. She also developed a technique to trace the travel of radioactive fallout across the oceans that led to restricting oceanic nuclear experimentation in 1963.”
She received many honours and awards. Saruhashi established the Society of Japanese Women Scientists to promote women in the sciences and contribute to world peace and was the executive director of the Geochemical Laboratory. She was also the first woman elected to the Science Council of Japan and won the Avon Special Prize for Women, for researching peaceful uses of nuclear power.
In 1981, she established the Saruhashi Prize, given yearly to a female scientist. Saruhashi is the first woman to win the Miyake Prize for geochemistry and won the Tanaka Prize from the Society of Sea Water Sciences.
She died September 29, 2007, at the age of 87 of pneumonia at her home in Tokyo.