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Agnes Morgan

MORGAN, Agnes Jane, née Fay, American chemist, 1884-1968. Following her doctorate in 1914 at U. of Chicago, Agnes spent  8 years at UC-Berkeley as a nutritionist. From 1923-40, she was the Professor of Household Science there. As an extension of this position, in 1940-42 she was Chair of the California State Nutrition Committee. Then Agnes was in US government positions, with the Office of Scientific Research and Development. The only woman on the so-called  Committee of Nine that established the national research programme priorities for America (1946-50). Her efforts resulted in nutrition becoming elevated to a well recognised science and home economics becoming a fully organised subject and eventually multidisciplinary. Her particular concerns were changes in food value during processing, especially heat application reducing the protein content. Also Agnes studied the effect of sulphur dioxide preservative on vitamins (vitamin C is preserved, thiamine is destroyed). Agnes also invented a new  dehydration process for preserving some liver meals. Research on animals demonstrated to her the danger of too much vitamin D for babies. Vitamin B was found to be essential for hair growth and skin pigmentation, lack of vitamin B causes premature greyness. Early in her postgraduate education, she founded the honors society for women chemists. This was Iota Sigma Pi, which she founded in 1911 at the University of Washington (after getting her first degree).

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