Many women in history have defied odds to cement themselves in their fields. Here’s some women in science who’ve been wronged by history.
1. Hedy Lamarr
An inventor and actress, she’s most likely the reason you’re reading this right now. She developed the concept of frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) which was later developed into Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Unfortunately, her looks often took precedent over her brains in her early career and it wasn’t until she met Howard Hughes that she was able to invent alongside being an actress (literally between takes).
2. Rosalind Franklin
A crystallographer, she took the X-ray photographs that eventually lead to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. However, she was noticeably absent from the pool of Nobel Prize winners that year. As you may know, the prize went to Watson and Crick, who have inadvertently lead to Franklin’s name being absent from science textbooks and discussions when it comes to the discovery of DNA.
3. Chien-shiung Wu
A key player in the disproval of what’s known as the law of parity; her experiments we’re groundbreaking. However, the Nobel Prize went two her collaborators Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang. She also worked on the Manhattan Project.
4. Scientist Mary Sommerville
Mostly self-taught due to the sensitivities of the time, the debate on weather Mary Sommerville was a scientist or simply a scientific writer was a hot topic in her biography. It is believed the term ‘scientist’ was actually coined in a review of her conexxions. An astronomer and polymath, she revolutionized her fields of astronomy and physics, her studies eventually lead to the discovery of Neptune.
5. Virginia Apgar
Yes, she’s the woman behind the Apgar score. You might have heard about it medical shows, mentioned once a baby is born. Well it is the genius of Virginia Apgar. She deduced that many newborns being written off as stillborn were actually viable if given the proper care in time, saving countless lives and becoming a hallmark of medical science.
6. Ada Lovelace
Introduced to Charles Babbage by the aforementioned Mary Sommerville, Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, she was a significant pioneer computer programming, even being dubbed the ‘first ever computer programmer’. She figured out that a computer could manipulate symbols to do operations. While her contemporary, Charles Babbage focused on numerical operations, she focused on a computer’s ability in music and graphics. The early programming language ‘Ada’ named after her.
7. Maria Mitchell
Also known as ‘Americas first woman astronomer’ she discovered ‘Miss Mitchell’s Comet’ something that wasn’t on any astronomical map yet. For her discovery, she won a gold medal from the King of Denmark and was granted admission into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ‘despite’ being a woman. In 1865, she became the first female professor of Astronomy.
Here are the stories of 7 inspiration women in science who have been undermined by history.