Birth Date: 1902
Date of Death: 15 June 1992 (age 90)
Place of Birth: Üsküp, Skopje, Ottoman Empire
Place of Death: Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality: Turkish
Occupation/Field of Study Turkish chemist and academic, first woman lecturer at the Chemistry Department of Istanbul University.

 

KEYWORDS: chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, metaphosphates, TUBITAK, Sorbonne

 

SHE THOUGHT IT

Remziye Hisar’s research focused on inorganic chemistry and biochemistry, especially phosphates. In the 1940s, she joined the scientific discussion on toxicology along with Celal Tahsin Boran and Hayri Sözen.1

 

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

Born in Skopje in 1902, where her father had been posted as a civil servant, she moved to Istanbul after the proclamation of the Second Constitution in 1909.2 Hisar finished the three years of primary education in only one. She had to change school frequently because of her father’s different appointments, but she graduated with honours on 15 July 1919 from the Çapa Kız Muallim Mektebi.3 Afterwards, she enrolled in the Department of Chemistry at the Darülfünun (forerunner of Istanbul University).4

Immediately after her graduation she went to Baku, Azerbaijan with a group of female scholars to work as a teacher and even though she found herself in the middle of the war in the Caucasus, she continued teaching at a teacher training college for girls (Dârülmuallimât).5 Eventually, after Azerbaijan became part of the USSR, she returned to Turkey with her husband, Reşit Süreyya Gürsey, who she met and married in Baku.2 In 1922, she received an invitation from a former teacher of hers who was the Director of the Ministry of Education at the time, asking her to go to Adana, where she was appointed as a teacher in the Adana Dârülmuallimat.5 Although, generally, very few Turkish women tended to continue their education abroad, Remziye Hisar studied at the Paris-Sorbonne University as a student of Marie Curie and Paul Langevin.6 She moved to Paris with her husband in 1924 and it was there that she gave birth to her daughter. In 1926 she got the Certificate of Applied Chemistry and General Chemistry and one year later was awarded the Certificate of Biochemistry. In 1928 she gained the Certificate of General Physics.4 She began her doctorate in 1929, but returned to Turkey as she did not have a scholarship. Once there, she applied for a chemistry teacher vacancy at the Mining Engineering School in Zonguldak, but in 1930 she was eventually offered a scholarship from the Ministry of Education to continue her doctoral studies.3 Having divorced Gürsey in the meantime, and with her son attending the Galatasaray High School as a boarder, she returned to Paris only with her daughter and her sister.2 She completed her doctorate, supervised by Paul Pascal.4 From 1933 to 1973, when she retired, she worked as an academic in various science departments.5 She was the mother of the famous physicist Feza Gürsey and the renowned psychologist Deha Gürsey Owens.2 She died in Istanbul soon after being informed about the death of her son Feza, in 1992.4

SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION AND RECOGNITION

In 1933 she was appointed Associate Professor of Science at the Faculty of Science of Istanbul University, but because of a disagreement with a professor she left the university in 1936.3 Between 1936 and 1942 she worked in Ankara at the Central Hygiene Institute, in the pharmacodynamics division of the Chemistry Department.4 In 1942 she was appointed associate professor, and from then until 1947 she taught analytical chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, and toxicology at the School of Pharmacy, all the while also managing her laboratories.3 In 1947 she was appointed Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Toxicology at the Pharmacology School of the Istanbul Technical University.5 She was one of the founding members of the Turkish University Women’s Association,3 founded in 1949. In 1959 she became Professor of Chemistry at the Mining Faculty of Istanbul Technical University and served there as Chair of Analytical Chemistry for ten years, from 1963 to 1973, when she retired at the age of 71.4

 

SHE SAID IT

In my youth women could only receive an education to be a teacher. Having this in mind I realize how much progress we (women) have made since then.

Cited in “Kadın akademisyenler: Öğretim ve idari kariyerler” (2014), İstanbul Kadın Müzesi. URL: <https://bianet.org/system/uploads/1/files/attachments/000/001/264/original/UniversitedeIlkKadinlar__opt.pdf?1417525942>(last accessed 9 Mar. 2017).

When I was at high school, I was very disappointed to see the names of males in the field of science, math and chemistry. I thought I could only come over this feeling by becoming the first Turkish woman in STEM fields.

Cited in “MARIE CURIE’NİN ÖĞRENCİSİ KİMYA BİLİMCİ REMZIYE HISAR” (Dec. 2015), Mimoza, 3, pp. 14-17. URL: <http://www.kaum.itu.edu.tr/tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/mimoza-aralik-2015.pdf> (last accessed 9 Mar. 2017).

 

THEY SAID IT

She was a teacher who was an example with her behaviour. She followed us closely, detected our mistakes, tell us why we should not do something.

Ayşe Aksoy cited  in “MARIE CURIE’NİN ÖĞRENCİSİ KİMYA BİLİMCİ REMZIYE HISAR” (Dec. 2015), Mimoza, 3, pp. 14-17. URL: <http://www.kaum.itu.edu.tr/tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/mimoza-aralik-2015.pdf> (last accessed 9 Mar. 2017).

She was very hard working, she loved her profession, she was very knowledgeable and a very gracious lady.

Üstü Gülden cited in “MARIE CURIE’NİN ÖĞRENCİSİ KİMYA BİLİMCİ REMZIYE HISAR” (Dec. 2015), Mimoza, 3, 14-17. URL: <http://www.kaum.itu.edu.tr/tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/mimoza-aralik-2015.pdf> (last accessed 9 Mar. 2017).

 

PRIZES AND DISTINCTIONS

1956: Officier de l’Academie (France)
1991: TUBITAK (Turkey)

 

INTERTEXTUAL MATERIALS 

 

Flying Broom’s Project (16 Jan. 2015), “Benim madam Curie’m-Remziye Hisar”, YouTube, URL: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_olC4TPOcAM> (last accessed 15 Mar. 2017).

 

BRIDGING GAPS

Remziye Hisar, apart from being a chemist, wrote poetry, which was published in 1964 under the title Bir kadın sesi [A Woman’s Voice].

 

WORKS BY REMZİYE HISAR

Several publications in the Bulletin de la Société Chimique de France in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1971.

Contribution à l’étude des acides metaphosphoriques et leurs sels (1933), Paris. Doctoral thesis.

Toksikoloji Notları (1945), Istanbul, Marifet Publishing House.

Bir kadın sesi (1964), İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Istanbul.

 

FURTHER READING

İshakoğlu-Kadıoğlu, Sevtap (1998), “İstanbul Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Tarihçesi (1900-1946)”, İstanbul Üniversitesi Yayınları, 4106, İstanbul, pp. 256-258.

Naymansoy, Günseli (2012), Remziye Hisar “Bir Kadın Sesi”, ATATÜRK KÜLTÜR MERKEZİ YAYINLARI, Ankara.

 

WORKS CITED

  1. Tekiner, Halil / İpek Boşgelmez / Gülin Güvendik / Ayşe Eken / Burcu Ünlü Endirlik / Emre Dölen (2014), “A Review of Toxicology Textbooks Published in Turkey from 1920 to the Present with Regard to Content and Terminology – Türkiye’de 1920’den Günümüze Kadar Basılmış Olan Toksikoloji Ders Kitaplarının İçerik ve Terminoloji Bakımından İncelenmesi”, 11th National Conference on Turkish History of Pharmacy (XI. Türk Eczacılık Tarihi Toplantısı) Supplement, URL: <http://lokmanhekim.mersin.edu.tr/index.php/lokmanHekim/article/view/390> (last accessed 17 Mar. 2017).
  2. 2. “MARIE CURIE’NİN ÖĞRENCİSİ KİMYA BİLİMCİ REMZIYE HISAR” (Dec. 2015), Mimoza, 3, pp. 14-17. URL:  <http://www.kaum.itu.edu.tr/tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/mimoza-aralik-2015.pdf> (last accessed 17 Mar. 2017).
  3. Çetin, Sevgi (8 Feb. 2012), “CUMHURİYETİN ÖNCÜ KADINLARI, DERNEĞİMİZİN KURUCULARI (V) : REMZİYE HİSAR”, Türk Üniversiteli Kadınlar Derneği (TÜKD). URL: <http://www.tukdbursa.org.tr/?s=sayfa&id=182> (last accessed 17 Mar. 2017).
  4. “Hisar, Remziye , Prof.Dr. (1902-1992)” (1 Nov. 2016), Bilim Tarihi, Department of History of Science, Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. URL:<http://www.bilimtarihi.org/bilimadamlari/biyografiler/biyografiler.htm> (last accessed 17 Mar. 2017).
  5. “Bir Çalıkuşu Öyküsü… İlk Kadın Kimyacımız-Remziye Hisar” (Aug. 1995), Bilim Tarihi, Department of History of Science, Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. URL: <http://www.bilimtarihi.org/pdfs/remziyehisar.pdf> (last accessed 17 Mar. 2017).
  6. Aroguz, Ayse Zehra (2011), “The Profile of Women in Science and Chemistry in Turkey”, Symposium: “Are Women still underrepresented in science?”. URL: <http://www.chemistry2011.org/system/documents/200/original/Symposium_August2_2011_Speakers_Abstracts_RevJune2_2011.pdf?1307044441> (last accessed 17 Mar. 2017).
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