Famous Women Scientists

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Famous Women Scientists

We can hardly imagine a world without the presence of women. In the patriarchal society of earlier times, women were restrained to household chores and deprived of proper education especially in lower classes. But the determined ones always remained a step ahead in proving themselves in every arena, be it Literature, Science, Arts or Business. When it comes to the domain of science, women have made remarkable contributions in every aspect of this field from chemistry to astronomy. There are many revolutionary women in Science who have been at the forefront of pioneering inventions and research! This blog sets out to pay a tribute to the famous women scientists in the world including those forgotten and remarkable superstars who shattered the glass ceiling and taught the world the lesson of perseverance and determination! Here are some of the most famous female scientists in the world:

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”– Brigham Young

Marie Curie

Image Courtesy: Britannica

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

Born on 7th November 1867, Marie Curie is one of the most famous female scientists. She was a physicist and chemist of Polish origin who went on to become the first woman in the world to win the Nobel Prize. One of the most famous women scientists of the world, she is well known for her groundbreaking research on radioactivity. She discovered two new elements – radium and polonium, by using techniques developed by herself for isolating radioactive isotopes for which she won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1911. Along with being the only woman to have won the Nobel prize twice, Marie Curie is also the only Nobel Laureate in two different fields to date. Marie Curie died on 4 July 1934 after suffering from aplastic anaemia due to exposure to radiation.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin
Image Courtesy: The Guardian

“Science, for me, gives a partial explanation for life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience and experiment.”

Amongst the most famous women scientists of the world, Rosalind Franklin was an X-ray crystallographer and chemist born in London on 25th July 1920. Although well-known for her work on coal, graphite and viruses, her most crucial contribution to science was her work on X-ray diffraction pictures of DNA, especially Photo 51, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix model. Although she did not receive credit for her work on DNA during her lifetime, she was honoured posthumously for her research.

Vera Rubin

Famous Women Scientists
Image Courtesy: Brain Pickings

“There is no problem in science that can be solved by a man that cannot be solved by a woman.”

Vera Florence Cooper Rubin was an American astronomer born on 23rd July 1928. Known for her pioneering work on galaxy rotation rates, she is among the world’s famous women scientists in the field of Astronomy. Her observations were instrumental in providing some of the earliest evidence of the presence of dark matter. Rubin won many accolades for her stellar work including the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Bruce Medal, the National Medal of Science etc. The National Science Foundation Vera C. Rubin Observatory is named after her, making her the first woman to be bestowed such an honour.

Gertrude Elion

Famous Women Scientists
Image Courtesy: Mujeres Con Ciencia

“Don’t be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don’t let others discourage you or tell you that you can’t do it. In my day I was told women didn’t go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn’t.”

A well-known Biochemist and Pharmacologist, Gertrude Elion is another renowned name in our list of famous women scientists in the world. Born on 23rd January 1918 in New York, she developed the first successful antiviral drug as well as the first immunosuppressive drug in the world. She, along with George H. Hitchings and Sir James Black, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology (Medicine) in 1988 for their innovative work on using the methods of rational drug design for developing new drugs. She was one of the most famous female scientists of her time.

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel
Image Courtesy: Simple Wikipedia

“…for when I finish my other work I can spend all night sweeping the heavens.”

Born on 16th March 1750 in Hanover, Caroline Herschel is internationally accredited for her great contributions in the field of astronomy, which included the discovery of several comets. Considered among the most famous women scientists, Caroline Herschel had many firsts to her name including but not limited to being the first woman to hold a government position in England, the first woman to be paid a salary as a scientist and the first woman to be honoured with a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. A periodic comet, 35P/Herschel–Rigollet (discovered by Caroline), was named after her.

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

“I was just so interested in what I was doing I could hardly wait to get up in the morning and get at it. One of my friends, a geneticist, said I was a child, because only children can’t wait to get up in the morning to get at what they want to do.”

Counted among the famous female scientists in the world, Barbara McClintock was an American scientist and cytogeneticist. She was born on 16th June 1902 in Hartford, Connecticut. Considered to be among the revolutionaries in her field, she carried out extensive research on the development of maize cytogenetics throughout her life. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology (Medicine) in 1983 for her discovery of genetic transposition, making her the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel prize in the category. 

Jane Goodall

Famous Women Scientists
Image Courtesy: Smithsonian Magazine

“Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved.”

Jane Goodall is an anthropologist and primatologist and is another key mention in our list of famous women scientists in the world. Born on 3rd April 1934, she became a world expert on chimpanzees. Her best-known work is a 60 year-long extensive study on the familial and social interactions among chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. The founder of the Jane Goodall Institute in Virginia, she has also established the Roots and Shoots program. She was named the UN Messenger of Peace in 2002 and is currently an honorary member of the World Future Council.

“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” – Hillary Clinton

Famous Female Astronomers

Here are the top female astronomers in the world that you must know about:

  • Vera Cooper Rubin: She is known to study the rotation of spiral galaxies.
  • Carolyn Porco: She is known for Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
  • Nancy Grace Roman: She is known for developing orbiting telescopes, including the Hubble, which help astronomers detect stars’ electromagnetic radiation 
  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell: Known for observing strange pulsing signals coming from space as coming from a rapidly spinning neutron star
  • Margaret J. Geller: She studies the structure of galaxies, including our own Milky Way
  • Carolyn Shoemaker: She co-discovered the  Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

These famous female scientists transformed the field of Science with their amazing inventions and discoveries and most of them lived in a time where the presence of women in Science was continuously questioned by the male-dominated society. But these remarkable women scientists proved their ingenuity to the world with their groundbreaking works! Aim to explore a career in Science? Our Leverage Edu experts are just a click away from providing you with the best guidance on the choicest course and university combinations which suit your interests and aspirations! Sign up for a free session with us today!

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