Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine – Shankar Vedantam
Here’s a tribute to all the women that’ve worked hard, and sometimes harder than others, to add to our knowledge of the place we call home – the earth and the universe.
1. Vera Rubin (1928 – ) Astronomer
Vera Rubin saw something unusual in galaxies: outer stars orbit just as quickly as those in the centre. She surmised that each galaxy must contain more mass than meets the eye. It was the first observational evidence of dark matter, which today is one of the most studied topics in cosmology.
2. marie sktodowska-curie (1867 – 1934) Radioactivity pioneer
A giant of science, Marie Sktodowska-Curie conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, a term she coined. She discovered two elements, founded two medical research centres, won two Nobels, and invented mobile X-ray units (dubbed petites Curies), saving countless lives in World War I.
3. rosalind franklin (1920 – 1958) biophysicist
English chemist and X-ray crystallographer, Rosalind Franklin used X-ray diffraction to reveal the inner structures of complex minerals and living tissues, including – famously – DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid). Had she not died in 1958 at the age of 37, it is widely believed she would have shared the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with colleague Aaron Klug.
4. HEDY LAMARR (1914 – 2000) inventor and actress
To get secret messages past the Nazis, Hedy Lamarr co-invented a frequency hopping technique that helped pave the way for today’s wireless tech. For years, her achievement was overshadowed by her other career, as a Hollywood star.
5. Cecilia payne-gaposchkin (1920 – 1979) astrophysicist
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin studied at Cambridge, but was denied a degree because it didn’t grant them to women until 1948. She pursued a PhD (philosophical doctorate) in the United States, and in her thesis showed the sun is made mostly of hydrogen and helium. It has been called “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.”
6. Jocelyn bell burnell (1943 – ) ASTROPHYSICIST
As a PhD student, Jocelyn Bell Burnell was analyzing radio telescope data when she noticed radio pulses from one point in the sky. She had discovered pulsars: rotating neutron starts that emit beams of radiation, like cosmic lighthouses. The work earned her graduate supervisor a Nobel, and launched an eminent career.
7. Maria goeppert-mayer (1906 – 1972) theoretical physicist
Despite spending most of her career working in unpaid positions, Maria Goeppert-Mayer made huge contributions to both theoretical and chemical physics. Her biggest breakthrough was a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells, for which she earned a Nobel.
8. Lise meitner (1878 – 1968) nuclear PHYSICIST
When Lise Meitner was a teen, Austria restricted female higher education. She pursued physics anyway, and 25 years later became the first woman in Germany to hold a professorship in physics. She helped discover nuclear fission, but was contentiously not awarded the 1944 Nobel alongside collaborator Otto Hahn.
9. Emmy noether (1882 – 1935) mathematician
Amalie “Emmy” Noether was a pioneer of abstract algebra. She was also a trailblazer who refused to accept that women should not join the pursuit of knowledge. When Germany’s Nazi government hounded her out of academia, she taught in secret. Today, Noether’s theorem underpins much of modern physics.
These women changed the face of physics, and although this list is neither complete, nor in any order, it’s an indicator of the dent women have left on the solid void of mysteries that is Physics.
Share your knowledge. Always. – GetBoocs.com