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BBC Science Focus names Ewine van Dishoeck as one of the six women who are changing chemistry

On the occasion of the Women & Girls in Science Day, BBC Science Focus Magazine highlighted 6 prominent female chemists. Among them is Leiden professor Ewine van Dishoeck: 'Astrochemist investigating the building blocks of life'.

Intersection of chemistry and astronomy

Science Focus tells how Van Dishoeck almost put off chemistry by astronomy, but ultimately created a unique niche for herself by combining these two disciplines. It is this combination that gives her a unique chemical perspective on astronomy. It allows Van Dishoeck to investigate the composition and functioning of the tenuous gas clouds in space. If you look up at the sky at night, you see Orion and some planets, but very few people think of what's in between there. And it's that very tenuous gas out of which we are formed,' she says.

Carbon monoxide and water

Van Dishoeck helped overcome the conundrum of how carbon monoxide can actually exist in space and not be broken down and destroyed by UV light.

Currently, Van Dishoeck has turned her focus on the search for water and understanding water cycles in space. By finding water molecules and explaining their origins in space, Van Dishoeck hopes to contribute to answering one of the biggest questions in astronomy: Is there life on other planets? 

 Read the whole article: Science Focus - 6 women who are changing chemistry as we know it

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