International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 11, 2021

Looking back at history you never really saw many women being mentioned in science, engineering, medicine, or really any career path that was considered a man’s field. It wasn’t until the last 50 years or so names started being brought to light on who really did the work for major inventions and discoveries that are still used to this day. Some of these women were major inspirations that shaped the science world today for men and women. Here are 9 of the women in history who we found to be inspiring and feel that they deserve recognition for their hard work. The information found is referenced in the sites at the bottom of the page.

  1. Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) – Chemist – Following her late husband’s research, Rosalind was the first to demonstrate the basic dimensions of DNA strands and reveal that the molecule was in two matching parts, running in opposite directions.
  2. Sally Ride (1951-2012) – Astronaut – NASA Astronaut Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, she was also the youngest American to leave the atmosphere at 32 years old.
  3. Edith Clarke (1883-1959) – Electrical Engineer – Edith developed the Clarke Calculator in 1921, it’s a graphing calculator used to help solve electric power transmission problems. She created some of the first software for electrical engineering and was the first female Electrical Engineer.
  4. Martha Coston (1826-1904) – Chemist – Martha used the technology of fireworks to develop a pyrotechnic signaling system for use at sea, known today as the flare gun. Coston’s flares were used by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. Before her flares, ships used flags during the day and lanterns at night to signal to other ships.
  5. Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) – Hollywood Actress & Inventor – Hedy was a big time Hollywood actress; she was referred to as the “Angelina Jolie of her time”. But she was also a famous inventor, she invented “Frequency Hopping”- a way of jumping around on radio frequencies in order to avoid a third party jamming your signal. She invented it in the 1940s for use as a secret wartime communication system that could keep the enemy from interfering with a ships torpedo. It was patented in August of 1942 and donated to the U.S. Military to help fight the Nazis. They didn’t use it till after the Second World War once they realized just how useful it could be. Hedy never received recognition for her invention until 1997, she was honored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but by then it was too late, and Hedy was unable to receive the award in person and get the applaud that was well deserved. She’s now in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
  6. Emily Warren Roebling (1843-1903) – Engineer – Emily was known for her contribution to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband. Washington Roebling – Civil Engineer and Chief Engineer during the construction of the bridge – developed Caisson Disease. She took copious notes from her husband of what still needed to be completed; she began studies of her own on the technical issues learning about strength of materials, stress analysis, cable construction, and calculation of catenary curves. After the bridge was completed, she rode with President Chester Arthur across it.
  7. Marie SKtodowska Curie (1867-1934) – French Physicist & Chemist – Marie became the first woman in history to win a Nobel Prize, and the only person to win two Nobel Prizes on two different disciplines (chemistry and physics). Marie, along with her husband Pierre, discovered radioactivity. She also discovered two elements, polonium and radium, and the element curium is named in her honor. The world’s first studies into the treatment of tumors took place under her direction and she founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw, which to this day are leading medical research centers.
  8. Marie Tharp (1920-2006) – Mapmaker – Marie was famous for creating the first scientific map of the ocean floor. Due to the law of women not being permitted on ocean-going ships that collected data, Marie had to work with the information given to her to create accurate charts – charts that revealed the existence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, clear evidence of plate tectonics and continental drift.
  9. Lois Graham (1925- 2013) – Professor of Thermodynamics and Cryogenics – Lois was the first woman to earn a mechanical engineering PhD in the United States. She is remembered for her lifelong work recruiting young women into careers in science and engineering.


This information was pulled from multiple sites, to read more about each of these magnificent women please see links below.