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Raisin, Catherine Alice

women london geological society

(1855–1945) British geologist; one of the first professional women geologists.

Catherine Raisin went to the North London Collegiate School, one of the earliest schools to provide serious education for girls. In 1878 the University of London opened its degree course to women and she took her BSc with honours in geology and zoology in 1884. She remained there as honorary research assistant to Professor Bonney, working in microscopic petrology and mineralogy. Her 24 published papers appeared in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society . Her best known work was a detailed investigation of the serpentines. The Geological Society of London awarded her the Lyell Fund in 1893, the first woman to receive the honour, but as women were not then allowed to attend meetings the award had to be accepted by Bonney on her behalf. She was awarded a DSc in 1898, was a demonstrator in botany at Bedford College for Women (1889–90) and became head of the geology department in 1890, the first woman to do so in a British university, holding the post until her retirement in 1920. She became a Fellow of University College in 1902 and a Fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1919, when women were admitted.

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