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Google Doodle celebrates Asima Chatterjee, pioneering chemist

Chatterjee was the first woman to earn a science doctorate from an Indian university.

Asima Chatterjee Google Doodle

Asima Chatterjee gets a Google Doodle on what would be her 100th birthday.

Google

Can women succeed in STEM fields? You might look to Asima Chatterjee for guidance on that one.

Chatterjee, honored with a Google Doodle on Saturday -- on what would've been her 100th birthday -- was the first woman to land a doctorate in science from an Indian university, the University of Calcutta in 1946.

The specialist in organic chemistry was most noted for her work with vinca alkaloids, Google says in a blog post on its site. The alkaloids come from the Madagascar periwinkle plant and are used in chemotherapy because they help inhibit the multiplying of cancer cells.

The doodle follows similar celebrations of trailblazing women. Among others honored: Bessie Coleman, the first female pilot of African-American descent and the first woman of Native American descent to earn a pilot's license; Dolores del Río, the first major female Mexican film star in Hollywood; and Zaha Hadid, the first woman awarded architecture's prestigious Pritzker Prize.

Chatterjee, who died in 2006 at age 89, received one of India's highest civilian medals, the Padma Bhushan, and was appointed to India's Parliament. You can learn more about her life and achievements by way of a slideshow at Google Arts & Culture.

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