Remziye Hisar


13 Haziran, 1992
Sorbonne University

First female chemist in Turkey (B. 1902, Skopje – D. 13 Jul 1992, Istanbul) A Turkish woman brought many innovations. She was the first Turkish woman graduated from the French Sorbonne University as well as being the first female chemist of the Turkish Republic. She was the mother of world famous physics scientist Feza Gürsey and the only Turkish member of the International Psychology Society, psychiatrist Deha Gürsey. She completed the three-year-long Mekteb-i İptidayi (Primary School) in Istanbul / Davutpaşa only in one year when she was nine. Afterwards she attended to İttihat ve Terakki School and Emirgân İnas Rüştiyesi (Secondary School for Girls). But, when her beloved Turkish teacher started to teach at İstanbul Darülmuallimatı (Çapa Kız Öğretmen School), she continued her education there. On July 15th, 1919, she graduated from the two-year section created to prepare the students to Darülfünun (Istanbul University) with the first place degree. While studying there, she used to teach geometry and arithmetic to the students in the lower grades. Finishing her secondary education, in 1919 she entered the chemistry department at Darülfünun.

In a period when the girls and boys attended to different class hours at Darülfünun, she went to Bakû with her teacher and her school friends. In Bakû, she found herself in the middle of a war. The war at the Caucasus and to learn that there were no need for them in Bakû discouraged her. She started to lecture at a teacher training school for boys. But the bad fortune and troubles followed one after the other. She stayed there for one year and returned to Istanbul with her husband, Dr. Reşit Süreyya Gürsey, whom she met and married in Bakû after the Soviet Russia terminated the independency of Azerbaijan. Following the birth of her first child, she was appointed to Adana Darülmuallimat (Kız Öğretmen School) in 1922 as the principal and started her duty by leaving her child to be taken care of by her mother.

Hisar had to continue her works under such difficult conditions and she went to Paris with her husband to improve her knowledge when her husband went to Paris for treatment. She started to have lessons at Paris Sorbonne University Faculty of Science Department of Chemistry during the 1923-24 period. Those days, very popular teachers like Langevin and Madame Curie were lecturing at Sorbonne. According to Remziye Hisar, getting to know them and to be able to follow their lessons made her forget all the difficulties she had. In 1929, Remziye Hisar started her doctorate study. But she couldn’t complete her doctorate when the Ministry of National Education called her back and ended her scholarship. After her return, she worked as a teacher at Erenköy Kız High School. She was able to complete her doctorate in 1933, when she went to Paris for the second time. After completing her doctorate thesis, she returned to Turkey; between 1933 and 1936 she worked as a chemistry and physic-chemistry associate professor at Istanbul University. In 1947, she started to work as a mechanic and chemistry assistant professor and she became a professor in 1959. She retired in 1973. 

Remziye Hisar, who divorced her husband, she returned to Paris with her daughter and sister after hard efforts and devoted herself to her studies. She made her doctorate with Paul Pascal and was appointed as the General Chemistry assistant professor at the Faculty of Science. In 1936, due to a conflict with Prof. Arndt, she left the university. Between 1936 and 42 she worked as the Chemistry Specialist at Ankara Merkez Hıfzıssıhha Institute, Pharmacodynamics Branch. Between 1942 and 1947, she lectured Analytic Chemistry; between 1944 and 1945 she lectured Pharmaceutics and Toxicology and managed the laboratory at Pharmaceutics School. In 1947, Remziye Hisar took the office of mechanic and chemistry assistant professor and became the Chemistry professor in 1959 in İTÜ Faculty of Mines. Between 1963 and 1973, she was the Chairman in İTÜ Faculty of Chemistry and she retired in 1973. In 1956 she was awarded with the “Officer de l'Academie” medal by the French government and in 1991 she was awarded the TÜBİTAK Service Award.  

         REFERENCE: Sevtap İshakoğlu-Kadıoğlu / İstanbul Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Tarihçesi:1900-1945, İTÜ’nün Remziye Hisar için verdiği vefat  ilanı (14.06.1992), TÜBİTAK Bilim Teknik Dergisi (Ağustos 1995), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).


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