Ada Florence Remfry Hitchins England Kenya Scotland

Biography of Ada Florence Remfry Hitchins

Ada Hitchins Matriculation slip
Ada Hitchins Matriculation slip

Ada Florence Remfry Hitchins graduated BSc from the University of Glasgow 1913. She became a chemist who greatly aided the research of Frederick Soddy(1877-1956), a chemist who lectured at the University and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921.

Ada was born in Tavistock, Devon and took classes such as Mathematics, Botany, Geology and Inorganic Chemistry during her undergraduate degree.

She gained a special distinction in Chemistry, a first class certificate in Geology and a first class certificate in Botany amongst other prizes during her studies.

Ada worked closely with Frederick Soddy on the establishment of the disintegration theory by proving the growth of radium from uranium.

She commenced research with Soddy in her final undergraduate year. When Soddy moved to the University of Aberdeen in 1915, Ada accompanied him and obtained a position as Carnegie Research Scholar. Soddy noted Ada’s contribution to the separation and analysis work in a report of his definitive result.

In September 1916 Hitchins was drafted to work in the Admiralty Steel Analysis Laboratories and this wartime experience helped her to find employment as a chemist in a Sheffield steel works until Soddy obtained the necessary funding to rehire her. She rejoined him as a technical assistant in 1921 and became private research assistant in 1922.

Ada left Soddy’s employ in 1927 and moved to Kenya with her family where she worked as a Government Assayer and Chemist in the Mining and Geological Department of the Colonial Government. She retired in 1946 and returned to England where she married a farmer, John Rees Stephens. She died in Bristol 1972.


Ada Florence Remfry Hitchins
Born 26 June 1891.
Died 4 January 1972.
GU Degree: BSc, 1913; Science and Engineering,
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: chemists
Additional Information: R3/1/1 and notes from Lesley April 2013
Record last updated: 23rd May 2014

Country Associations

England England, Devon, Tavistock
Place of Birth

England England, Bristol, Bristol
Place of Death

Kenya Kenya, No Region

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow, Glasgow

University Connections

University Roles