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PopWrapped | Current Events

Keep Celebrating International Women's Day With These Brilliant Female Scientists

Sash | PopWrapped Author

Sash

Updated 03/9/2015 10:47pm
Keep Celebrating International Women's Day With These Brilliant Female Scientists | international women's day
With International Women's day having been just yesterday we thought it was about time that you discovered some female scientists that you probably haven't heard of! It's not only Marie Curie, you know...

Valentina Tereshkova

international women's day Courtesy of: IFLS
Valentina was a kick-ass astronaut who was the first woman in space back in 1963, on board the Vostok 6 as part of the Cosmonaut Corps. She didn't just go into space, she piloted the ship and her mission lasted just under 3 days, giving her enough time to orbit the earth 48 times! Following her adventure in space, she gained a doctorate in engineering and then entered the world of politics, using her fame and position to discuss space exploration, especially for her fellow women.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

international women's day Courtesy of: ElPais
Whilst working as a post grad, Burnell made a huge discovery observing radio pulsars for the first time in history. Even though she was the first person to witness them, when the discovery was recognised with a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974, the award was given to her advisor and another colleague! Many people were rightfully outraged at this, but Burnell remained quiet and never publicly spoke of her disappointment. However she is still credited as someone who made a hugely important scientific discovery. She then worked as a physics professor at Open University in the UK and at Princeton, US. She continued to work in schools up until she retired, receiving a host of other awards and honorary degrees along the way.

Rita Levi-Montalcini

international women's day Courtesy of: www.millepercorsi.it
Despite her father telling her that her place was in the home, not in a lab, Levi-Montalcini earned herself a degree in medicine. Mussolini’s Manifesto of Race stopped her from getting a job due to her Jewish heritage, however never one to be thwarted she constructed a laboratory in her room and simply worked from there. She became a surgeon during WWII and then returned post war to dedicate her life to academics and learning. She became a professor at Washington University and set up research labs in St. Louis and Rome, and then received a Nobel Prize in medicine, in honor of her work with tumor cells and isolating Nerve Growth Factor.

 

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

international women's day Courtesy of: TheScienceOfReality
Another woman overcoming the odds in a male dominated field, Payne-Gaposchkin studied at Cambridge in the 1920's but was unable to receive her degree due to her gender! Later in life she traveled to America and gained a Ph.D from Radcliffe University. Her thesis was hailed as “undoubtedly the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.” She was the first person to put forward the idea that stars are comprised of Hydrogen and Helium, although she was pressured to withdraw this by a colleague who later came to the same conclusion. She spent the rest of her working life at Harvard, where she served as a huge role model for women wanting to enter the sciences, particularly astronomy.

Caroline Herschel

international women's day Courtesy of: digiletinc
Being the sister of William Herschel, maybe it was in the stars that Caroline would be an astronomer as well. At her brother's side and with her father teaching her, she became the first woman to discover a comet, in 1786. In total she discovered six comets along with three nebulae and earned multiple awards for her work in astronomy.

Lise Meitner

international women's day Courtesy of: Wired
For thirty years Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn worked together researching radioactivity and went on to discover the element protactinium. She was was the first to offer an explanation for the amount of energy that could be produced with nuclear fission, and yet her research partner Hahn decided to write a paper on this phenomena without crediting her. Due to this, he alone was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1944. However, others noticed her vast contributions to science, including Niels Bohr. He not only helped her escape the Nazis, but also promoted her in the science community, nominating her for a Nobel Prize three times. Einstein hailed her as a pioneer in physics.

Emmy Noether

international women's day Courtesy of: www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de
Emmy Noether earned a doctorate with honours but struggled to find a paying job, until she secured a place at the University of Göttingen. Inspired by Einstein, she created a theorem that held incredible importance in the scientific world, explaining symmetry in nature and universal laws of contributions. The ""Noether's theorem" was used to search for the Higgs Bosun recently. She has been described by many, incuding Einstein, as the foremost mathematician of her time.

 

Maria Mitchell

international women's day Courtesy of: IFLS
Maria was the first American woman to become a professional astronomer. At just 12 years old she had used a solar eclipse to work out the location of her home. She discovered the comet C/1847 T1, but didn't recieve the credit for it at first, as it was also discovered at the same time by a European astronomer. Since she had documented her discovery two days earlier, records were amended and the comet renamed "Miss Mitchell's comet". She then became professor of astronomy at Vassar College, just after it had been founded.   So there are a few incredibly talented and brilliant women listed here but we know there are loads more out there. Who would you have included?

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