Amazing women of science


Cardiff, United Kingdom

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Women who have changed the world of science and the world in general… although they weren’t always recognised for it.

Marie Curie – Two-time Nobel Prize winner whose work led to the discovery of radioactivity.

Margaret Hamilton – Computer scientist and systems engineer. She was Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell – Northern Irish astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars while studying and advised by her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle, while Bell Burnell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyse the pulsars.

Rosalind Franklin – An English chemist and X-ray crystallographer who made contributions to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite. Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely recognized posthumously.

Chien-Shiung Wu – A Chinese American experimental physicist who made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project, where she helped develop the process for separating uranium metal into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion. She is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, which contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity. This discovery resulted in her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang winning the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, and also earned Wu the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her expertise in experimental physics evoked comparisons to Marie Curie. Her nicknames include “the First Lady of Physics”, “the Chinese Madame Curie”, and the “Queen of Nuclear Research”.

Barbara McClintock – An American scientist and cytogeneticist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Ada Lovelace – An English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer.

Shirley Ann Jackson – An American physicist, and the eighteenth president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She received her PhD in nuclear physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, becoming the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT.

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