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Elsa Neumann

Elsa Neumann earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Berlin in 1899, nine years before women were officially allowed to study there, becoming the university’s first woman graduate. She worked briefly at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England before returning to Berlin, where she changed her focus from physics to chemistry and began working on airship research, becoming the only female crew member of a zeppelin team under Ferdinand Zeppelin in 1902. She used her celebrity as the first woman scientist in Berlin to establish a foundation for grants for women scientists; the association had male and female members including Max Planck and Arthur Koenig. She died in 1902 as the result of a lab accident; she had survived a previous accident where she saved the life of Otto Wallach, a fellow scientist who went on to win the Nobel Prize.

Elsa Neumann at Her Graduation from the University of Berlin, 1899
Full image

Elsa Neumann's graduation from the University of Berlin in 1899.

Public domain.

Date of Birth
August 23, 1872
Place of Birth
Date of Death
July 23, 1902

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Elsa Neumann." (Viewed on January 20, 2018) <>.


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