Celebrating The First Female President Of The APA

Government Chemist collaborates on a paper celebrating the first female president of the Association of Public Analysts, Joan Davena Peden

Joan Davena Peden in the laboratory circa 1958

Joan Davena Peden in the laboratory circa 1958

The career and legacy of Joan Davena Peden (1920-1997) have been charted in a paper in the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts

Joan Peden was the first female to head a department for Somerset County Council and to hold the post of President of the Association of Public Analysts.

She was an enterprising and innovative Public Analyst (Official Control Scientist) remembered with considerable respect within the profession. She was willing to embrace modern analytical techniques, successfully confronted lack of transparency in feed additive declarations and tackled challenges such as pesticide bioaccumulation and heavy metal environmental pollution. Coupled with an engaging literary style, consummate expertise and natural personal authority, Joan Davina Peden was an exemplar Public Analyst. She was a woman ahead of her time, who set standards in all her areas of activity.

The open access paper was a collaboration between Michael Walker from the Government Chemist team with Professor D T Burns from the Institute of Global Food Security in Queen’s University Belfast.

The authors wish to thank Louise Gillet of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society; Iain Hunter, Manager, Somerset Scientific Services; Robert Giles of the RSC and Rev JH Yoxall, Blackthorn Benefice for their assistance with materials for this biography and Dr Caroline Pritchard (LGC) for helpful editorial comments.