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Kaufman, Joyce Jacobson

KAUFMAN, JOYCE JACOBSON (1929– ), U.S. chemist. Born in New York City but raised and educated in Baltimore, Maryland, Kaufman earned her B.S. with honors in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1949, soon after her marriage to Stanley Kaufman, an engineer. After graduation, she worked as a technical librarian and then a research chemist at the Army Chemical Center before returning to Johns Hopkins in 1952 as a researcher in the physical chemistry lab of her former professor, Walter S. Koski, who was later to become her second husband. With Koski as her advisor and mentor, she received her M.A. in 1959 and then her Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1960. In 1962, accompanied by her mother and her young daughter, she went to Paris, where she became a visiting scientist, receiving a doctoral degree in theoretical physics from the Sorbonne the following year.

After working in industry as a staff scientist and later as leader of the quantum chemistry group at the Research Institute for Advanced Studies of the Martin Marietta Company, Kaufman rejoined Koski's research group at Johns Hopkins as a principal research scientist, a position which she held until her retirement. She also held a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as associate professor of anesthesiology and later of plastic surgery, but she never received tenure or promotion to full professor, perhaps due to discrimination against her as a woman. In addition to working with doctoral students, postdoctoral associates, and visiting scientists, she also served as mentor to many undergraduates.

The author of more than 300 scientific publications, Kaufman conducted groundbreaking research in a variety of fields, including pharmacology, drug design, theoretical quantum chemistry, experimental physical chemistry, chemical physics of energetic compounds, biochemical research, and superconductors. She served on numerous editorial advisory boards for scientific books and journals and as consultant to many scientific organizations. In 1965 Kaufman was elected fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and, the following year, of the American Physical Society; in 1969, she was named Dame Chevalière de France; in 1973, she received the Garvan Medical Award of the American Chemical Society; and in 1981, she was elected corresponding member of the European Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. In 1974, the Jewish National Fund honored her with a Woman of Achievement Award as one of the ten outstanding women in Maryland. Her daughter, JAN CARYL KAUFMAN (1955– ), was one of the first three women admitted to the Conservative rabbinate.


P.E. Hyman and D.D. Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America, I (1997), 729–30; W.S. Koski, "Joyce Jacobson Kaufman (1929– )," in: L.S. Grinstein et al. (eds.), Women in Chemistry and Physics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook (1993), 299–313; B.F. Shearer and B.S. Shearer (eds.), Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary (1997), 223–27.