Alice Ball
Updated: 2/11/2021
Alice Ball

Storyboard Text

  • Chemist
  • Look! I've created an injectable version of chaulmoogra oil. It will treat Hansen's disease!
  • Professor
  • You may wonder why I'm showing you how to properly wear a gas mask.
  • Physician's Assistant
  • Alice Ball was a chemist who invented an injectable leprosy treatment that was the most effective until the 1940s. She published a ten-page paper that was published in the prestigious Journal of American Chemical Society. Sadly, she passed away before she could publish her revolutionary findings, and Arthur Dean, another chemist, took her findings, continued them, and published them as his own, without crediting her.
  • She was also the first female and African American chemistry professor ever at the University of Hawaii. Supposedly, this career was the one that cost her life. It is suspected that she fell ill to chlorine poisoning after demonstrating the proper usage of a gas mask in preparation for World War I. I say supposedly because her death certificate was altered, documenting the cause of death as tuberculosis.
  • Dr. Harry T. Hoffman, a physician, was not satisfied with the inconsistent results of chaulmoogra oil in its natural form. So, he reached out to Alice Ball to help him develop a refined version of it by isolating the active chemical compounds. Dr. Hollmann was the one who spoke out about Arthur Dean and got Ball the credit she deserves.