Today I want to talk about female scientists (in no particular order) who have changed the world with their research.
– Katherine Freese is a trailblazing modern scientist who studies dark matter, including studying “dark stars” in the universe, something that has never been observed directly by a human. She’s the Director of Nordita, an institute for theoretical physics in Stockholm.
– Barbara McClintock won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her studies of the genetic makeup of corn, and specifically, her discovery of “jumping genes”, or the ability of genes to change position on the chromosome.
– Gertrude Elion, another Nobel winner, was a biochemist and pharmacologist who developed drugs to treat leukemia and prevent kidney transplant rejection.
– Rosalind Franklin was a British biophysicist known for revolutionary work discovering DNA, as well as understanding X-rays and molecular structure.
– Henrietta Swan Leavitt was an American astronomer who discovered the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variable stars. The Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years in size, a key figure that would have never been discovered without her findings.
– Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer in the world. Ada penned her research on the analytical engine, the mechanical general purpose computer of Charles Babbage. Her observations on this engine was acknowledged as the first algorithm. The programming language developed by US Department of Defence is named after her.
– Sau Lan Wu, a Chinese particle physicist, who warmed up her theatrical career by discovering charm quarks and gluons, and then really changed the entire course of scientific history by helping to discover the Higgs boson, the so-called ‘God Particle’.
– Jane Goodall is the most famous primate scientist in history. Jane Goodall was renowned for her work with chimpanzees and as a champion of animal rights. And Goodall wasn’t just working in a lab; she climbed trees and mimicked the behavior of chimps in Tanzania to gain their trust and study them in their natural habitat.
– Vera Rubin, an American astronomer, proved that dark matter existed in the universe by concluding that invisible gravity sources were pulling planets and stars in certain directions.
– Jennifer Doudna is a professor of chemistry and molecular cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a creator of the gene editing technology, CRISPR. CRISPR could allow us to cure diseases and take control of evolution.
– Maria Goeppert Mayer, a German immigrant to the US who studied at Johns Hopkins during the Great Depression. Her most famous contribution to modern physics is discovering the nuclear shell of the atomic nucleus, for which she won the Nobel Prize in 1963.
– Marie Stopes, the British scientist, is best known for her achievements in the fields of birth control and sex education in the 20th century. Her book “Married Love” broke many barriers in the society.
– Marie Curie, Polish/French scientist. “Madame Curie” was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the first person to win the Nobel Prize for two separate categories. Her first award was for research into radioactivity (Physics, 1903). Her second Nobel prize was for Chemistry in 1911. A few years later she also helped develop the first X-ray machines.
– Sara Seager has discovered 715 planets with the Kepler Space Telescope, a remarkable contributor to the modern understanding of space.
– Ruby Sakae was an American biochemist and bacteriologist. She made major contributions to the development of vaccines to fight polio.
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