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The Kathleen Lonsdale Building

Kathleen_Lonsdale_webKathleen Lonsdale (1903 – 1971) received a BSc Physics from Bedford College in 1922 and went on to become a pioneering crystallographer who rose from the most humble background to become one of the best-known in her field.

She paved the way in a male-dominated world for the many women who followed in her footsteps.  She was one of the first two women to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the first female tenured professor at University College, London, the first female president of the International Union of Crystallography and the first female president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. She is said to have accepted her achievements as a pioneering woman scientist with characteristic humility.  In 1956, she was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1957 she received the Davy Medal of the Royal Society. In 1966, the 'lonsdaleite', a rare form of meteoric diamond, was named after her. 

She was a committed pacifists and together with her husband, Thomas Jackson Lonsdale, worked toward world peace. During World War II, she and her husband gave shelter to refugees, and in 1943 Kathleen spent a month in Holloway prison for refusing to register for war duties and then refusing to pay a fine, this also resulted in her becoming a prison reform activist.



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