Isabella L. Karle

Passionate about science from a young age, Isabella Karle had completed her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. (all in physical chemistry) from the University of Michigan by the age of twenty-three. After serving as the first female member of the chemistry faculty at the University of Michigan, Dr. Karle and her husband (also a scientist, who later won a Nobel Prize) took up positions at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 1946.

In the course of her career at NRL, Dr. Karle made pioneering contributions in determining the three-dimensional structure of molecules, making use of both X-ray and electron diffraction, and in particular for her definitive introduction of the symbolic addition method to reveal molecular structure directly from X-ray studies.

In addition to her award from The Franklin Institute, Dr. Karle received the Women in Science and Engineering's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences' Aminoff Prize in 1988, and the National Medal of Science in 1995.

Information as of 1995