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Ruth Patrick

PATRICK, Ruth, American limnologist, 1931-2013. Chair Professor of Limnology at the Academy of Natural Sciences (Pa) from 1947-73, then a Research Chair from 1973. Professor of Biology at U. of Pennsylvania from 1970. Ruth has studied the diatom extensively. The inventor of a diatometer which quantitates the growth and size of diatoms. The first to recognise the value of diatoms in cleaning water of pollutants, seeing a relationship between the number of diatoms present and the biological status (quality) of the water (using her device). Then she reversed the instrument’s usage, to assessing the type and amount of pollutant according to the size and number of diatoms present. Her results led to ecological assessments based on diverse species rather than a single species. Elected to membership of the NAS in 1970.

Limnologist Inventor

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