Famous Women Scientists and Inventors

Women scientists and inventors have found an important place for themselves in the world of science because of the contributions they made. Have you ever wondered how we have so much information about the galaxies that exist outside the Milky Way? Have you ever tried to find out who designed Blissymbols? The answers to these questions lie in knowing about famous women scientists, women who brought about a change in this world.
| Monday, January 03, 2011

From time immemorial women all across the world have proved that they are intelligent and hard working individuals who take steps to make their dreams come true. Each woman scientist who has found a place for herself on this page has made a very valuable contribution to the world; contributions that have helped cure wounds, diseases as well as understand animals. This page is all about famous women scientists and their discoveries and inventions.

Allessandra Gillani

This atomist as well as surgeon was born in 1307. It was while she was working with Mondino de Luzzi, as an assistant that she specialized in dissections for research and development. She is the scientist who introduced the technique which involved injecting colored liquids to trace the circulatory system.

Anita B. Roberts

Anita B. Roberts was the 49th most acknowledged scientist in the world. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 3, 1942. She was a molecular biologist who discovered the protein TGF-Beta. The protein that she discovered plays an important role in healing wounds as well as fractures. It also plays a dual role of blocking and stimulating cancers.

Annie J. Easley

Born on 23 April, 1933 in Birmingham, Alabama, Annie J. Easley is an African American scientist who was employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Lewis Research Center as well as its predecessor agency. This computer scientist was a very important member of the team which created the software for the Centaur rocket stage.

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock was born on 16 June 1902 and was an American scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her work in Physiology or Medicine. She was also one of the world’s most recognized and respected cytogeneticists. Barbara McClintock was the person who led the development of the maize cytogenetics and studied the changes that the chromosomes present in maize underwent during reproduction. It was in the 1940’s and 1950’s that Barbara McClintock discovered transposition. She used this process to show how genes are responsible for the presence or absence of physical characteristics. 

Christine Nusslein-Volhard

Born on 20 October, 1942 in Magdeburg, Christine Nusslein-Volhard is a German Biologist who carried out a successful research in mutagenesis in order to show the embryonic development in fruit flies. It was in 1991 that she was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. It was 4 years later that she won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Edward B. Lewis and Eric Wieschaus for the research they had conducted on the genetic control of embryonic development.

Diane Fossey

Diane Fossey was born on 16 January 1932 in California. She was an American Zoologist who spent 18 years in Rwanda completing an extensive study of gorilla groups. It was the famous paleontologist Louis Leakey who initially encouraged Diane Fossey to work in the mountain forests of Rwanda.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Born on 12 May 1910, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was a British Chemist who was attributed with the discovery of protein crystallography. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her most influential discoveries which include the determination of the structure of Vitamin B12 and Penicillin. This scientist was known as one of the first scientists who worked in the field of X-Ray crystallography studies of natural molecules.

Grace Murray Hooper

Grace Murray Hooper was born on 9 December, 1906. She was an American computer scientist as well as a United States Naval Officer. It was Grace Murray Hopper who created the first compiler for a computer programming language. Apart from this she was also one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I calculator. It was because of her rank in the Navy as well as the extent of her accomplishments that Grace Murray Hooper was sometimes called "Amazing Grace."

Gertrude B. Elien

Born in 1918, Gertrude B. Elien was an American pharmacologist and biochemist who is well known for the contribution she made in cancer research. She discovered many drugs to fight cancer. It was in 1988 that she received the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology which was later followed by the National Medal of Science in 1991 as well as the Lemelson-MIT lifetime achievement award.

Gerty Theresa Cori

Gerty Theresa Cori was born on 15 August 1896 in Prague, which is now in the Czech Republic. She was an American biochemist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with her husband and Argentine Physiologist Bernardo Houssay. This ceremony took place in the year 1947. The Nobel Prize was awarded to them because of their discovery of glycogen and the process of how it is broken down and then resynthesized in the body to be used as a store as well as a source that provides energy.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt

Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born on 4 July, 1868 in Lancaster, Massachusetts. She was an American astronomer and who worked as a women "computer" at the Harvard College Observatory. It was when she was recording the brightness of stars that she noted that variable stars follow a pattern, the knowledge of which proved helpful when measuring distances in the Universe. It was because of Henrietta Swan Leavitt’s observation and research that we received information about the many galaxies that existed outside the Milky Way. It was in her honor that a crater on the Moon was named the Leavitt crater.

Helen Flanders Dunbar

Born on 14 May 1902, Helen Flanders Dunbar or Flanders Dunbar, as she was later known was an important figure in Physiology as well as U.S psychosomatic medicine. Apart from this she was also a supporter of the clergy as well as physicians who put in great efforts to care for the sick.

Irene Joliot Curie

The daughter of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, Irene Joliot Curie was born on 12 September 1897. She was a French scientist who along with her husband; Frederic Joliot was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935. The award was given to them for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. All the Nobel Prizes awarded to the Curies makes them the family with the most Nobel laureates till date.

Jane Goodall

Born on 3 April 1934 as Valerie Jane Morris Goodall, Jane Goodall as she is better known is an English UN Messenger of Peace, an ethologist, anthropologist as well as a primatologist. She is known the world over for her study of the social and family interactions of chimpanzees in Tanzania as well as the founding of the Jane Goodall Institute. One of Jane Goodall’s major breakthroughs in primatology was the discovery of tool-making among chimpanzees.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell was born Susan Jocelyn Bell on 15 July 1943. She is an anthropologist who along with her thesis advisor Antony Hewish discovered the first radio pulsars. The Nobel Prize was then awarded to Antony Hewish for his work on pulsars. This sparked off a controversy since Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s name was not mentioned as a co-recipient.

Linda B. Buck

Born in Seattle, Washington on 29 January, 1947, Linda B. Buck is an American biologist who is known for the research she conducted on the olfactory system. It was in 2004 that she and Richard Flex were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their research on olfactory receptors.

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner was born on the 7 or 17 November, 1878 into a Jewish family in Vienna. She was a Swedish physicist who studied nuclear physic and radioactivity. Lise Meitner was also a part of a team that was responsible for the discovery of nuclear fission.

Marie Curie

Born on 7 November 1867 in Warsaw, Russian Empire, Marie Curie was a chemist and physicist of Polish upbringing and French citizenship. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris as well as the only person who received the Nobel Prize for two different sciences. It was Marie Curie who discovered the elements radium and polonium.

Maria Goeppert Mayer

Maria Goeppert Mayer was born on 28 June, 1906. She was a German born American theoretical Physicist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for her proposal of the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. After Marie Curie, Maria Geoppert Mayer is the second female laureate in physics.

Rachel Zimmerman

It was in the mid-1980’s that a 12 year old girl, Rachel Zimmerman, developed a software program using Blissymbols to help people who had difficulty communicating. The program created by her communicates with the help of a special touch pad. As the symbols are touched by a user, the Blissymbol Printer, another of Rachel Zimmerman’s creations, translates the symbols into written in language.

Rita Levi-Montalcini

Born on 22 April 1909, Rita Levi-Montalcini is an Italian neurologist and the oldest Nobel Prize winner at the age of 99. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with her colleague, Stanley Cohen in the year 1986. This was for their discovery of Nerve Growth Factor.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was born on 25 July 1920 in Notting Hill, London. She was an English biochemist and X-ray crystallographer who contributed immensely to understanding the structure of viruses, graphite, coal and DNA. Rosalind Elise Franklin’s most noteworthy contribution was the X-ray diffraction images of DNA. She also did pioneering work on polio viruses as well as tobacco mosaic.

Trotula of Salerno

Tortula of Salerno was a famous Italian scientist. She was known for the contribution she made in the fields of gynecology and obstetrics. She not only wrote books about women’s health but also taught men about it. Apart from this, Tortula also promoted opiates to dull labor pain. Her major work is "Passionibus Curandorum" or "The Diseases of Women."

Virginia Apgar

Born on 7 June, 1909 in Westfield, New Jersey Virginia, Apgar was an American physician who was a leader in the fields of teratology and anesthesiology. She was the scientist who found the field of neonatology and developed the Apgar Newborn scoring system. This system drastically reduced the infant mortality rate the world over.