Chemistry might be boring when we’re talking about the Periodic Table of Elements and Hydrogen Carbon Dioxide, but the first documentation of a chemist and a chemist’s work was about something a lot more pleasant to the nostrils and imagination than the chemical makeup of Methane.
According to an About.com article, “Who Was the First Chemist?” by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., a Chemistry Guide for the site, a Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet dating to the second millenium B.C. tells us that a woman is the world’s first known chemist.
Tapputi was the woman’s name, and she did just what perfumers still do today, with flowers and other aromatic materials and the process of distillation, which was never documented before.
Tapputi made perfume for the palace where she was a perfumer and overseer, which is most likely the only reason why her efforts were recorded. Nonetheless, the tablet brands Tapputi the world’s first known chemist, as well as the first to use the process of distillation.