Alice Ball

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Poesie Perfume Miss Behave General Catalog Perfume Oil (Available)

Notes: a burst of lemon, bergamot and fresh ginger root, a hint of candy floss, and a clean, crisp musk accord

Let’s just get this out there — leprosy is not a topic you’ll find discussed on most perfume websites. But here we are. We have to talk about leprosy because we have to talk about Alice Ball. More people should be talking about her!

Alice Ball was born in 1892 in the US (a super fun time and place to be a Black woman scientist!) She may have developed an interest in chemistry while watching her grandfather’s work in the then-new field of photography. After growing up to be a complete overachiever, Ball received two degrees — one in pharmaceutical chemistry and one in pharmacy, after which she pursued graduate studies at the University of Hawaii.In 1915, she became the first woman and first Black person to graduate with a master's degree from the University of Hawaii. But she didn’t stop there! She went on to become the first female and first Black chemistry professor at the University of Hawaii's chemistry department.

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that Alice Ball achieved all of this at just 23 years old. Tragically, she would have only one year of her all-too-short life ahead of her at this point. But she used the time well. In fact, she used that one year to find a cure to freaking leprosy. That’s right. During her 24 years on Earth, Alice Ball created an effective treatment for a disease that had been afflicting humanity for thousands of years (The earliest account of the disease is actually mentioned in an Egyptian Papyrus document written around 1550 B.C.).

Alice Ball’s treatment was used for decades after her death. Because of her work, thousands of people were able to return home from exile and isolation. Today, it is a completely treatable ailment. Here’s to the overachievers!


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