women in science

Maria Mitchell and “Miss Mitchell’s Comet”

Maria Mitchell and “Miss Mitchell’s Comet”

On August 1, 1814, American astronomer Maria Mitchell was born who, in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet“. „We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry.” – Maria Mitchell Maria Mitchell – Youth and Education Maria Mitchell was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, among nine brothers and sisters…
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Sophie Germain and the Chladni Experiment

Sophie Germain and the Chladni Experiment

On June 27, 1831, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Marie-Sophie Germain passed away. She is best known for her work in number theory and contributions to the applied mathematics of acoustics and elasticity. Her work on Fermat’s Last Theorem provided a foundation for mathematicians exploring the subject for hundreds of years after. Because of prejudice against her gender, she was unable to make a career out of mathematics, but she worked independently throughout her…
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Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

On June 16, 1902, American cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock was born. She is one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists and received the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. “If chromosomes are broken by various means, the broken ends appear to be adhesive and tend to fuse with one another 2-by-2. This has been abundantly illustrated in the studies of chromosomal aberrations induced by X-ray treatment. It also occurs after mechanical rupture…
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Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

On January 9, 1858, American botanist, bryologist, and educator Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (née Elizabeth Gertrude Knight) was born. She and her husband, Nathaniel Lord Britton played a significant role in the fundraising and creation of the New York Botanical Garden. She is best known for her lasting contributions to bryology, the study of mosses. Elizabeth Gertrude Britton – Early Years Elizabeth Gertrude Knight was born in New York City, one of five daughters,…
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Aspasia of Miletus – Greek Philosopher

Aspasia of Miletus – Greek Philosopher

Aspasia was a female Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC. Little is known about her life, but she appears in the writings of Plato, Aristophanes, of Miletus Xenophon and other greek philosophers. It is said that Aspasia‘s teaching should have influenced Socrates, the most important of all Greek philosophers. A Well Known Person in the Streets of Athens Aspasia was born in the Greek city of Miletus (in today’s province Aydın, Turkey)…
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Anna Komnena – Byzantine Historian of the First Crusade

Anna Komnena – Byzantine Historian of the First Crusade

Anna Komnena was a Byzantinian Princess in the 11th century. She is considered one of the world’s first female historian and a major source of information about the reign of her father, Alexius I. in the times of the crusades. Of course this is rather unusual for the time being, that a princess writes about the life of her father, The Alexiad, and even more that this piece of writing should become…
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Hertha Ayrton – Arc Lights and Ripples in the Sand

Hertha Ayrton – Arc Lights and Ripples in the Sand

On August 26, 1923, British engineer, mathematician, physicist and inventor Hertha Ayrton died of blood poisoning resulting from an insect bite. Known in adult life as Hertha Ayrton, born Phoebe Sarah Marks, she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society for her work on electric arcs and ripples in sand and water. She invented a sphygmograph (a device that charts pulse beats, but was not the first to do so), and…
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Marianne Weber and the Status of Women in Patriarchal Societies

Marianne Weber and the Status of Women in Patriarchal Societies

On August 2, 1870, Marianne Weber, sociologist, women’s rights activist and wife of sociologist Max Weber was born [4]. Weber is known for her book “Wife and Mother in the Development of Law“, where she compiled the legal, economic, and social status of women from antiquity until her present time. The Daughter of a Country Doctor Marianne Weber was born as Marianne Schnitger, the daughter of the country doctor Eduard Schnitger and his…
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Mary Jane Rathbun and the Secret Life of Crustacea

Mary Jane Rathbun and the Secret Life of Crustacea

On June 11, 1860, American zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was born. Rathbun established the basic taxonomic information on Crustacea. For many years she was the Smithsonian’s complete department of marine invertebrates where she studied, cataloged, and preserved specimens. Through her basic studies and published works, she fixed the nomenclature of Crustacea and was the recognized, and the much sought after, authority in zoology and carcinology. A Self-taught Zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was…
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Ruth Benedict and Cultural Anthropology

Ruth Benedict and Cultural Anthropology

On June 5, 1887, American anthropologist and folklorist Ruth Fulton Benedict was born. Benedict’s theories had a profound influence on cultural anthropology, especially in the area of culture and personality. Her major contribution to anthropology, compares Zuñi, Dobu, and Kwakiutl cultures in order to demonstrate how small a portion of the possible range of human behaviour is incorporated into any one culture. “A man’s indebtedness … is not virtue; his repayment is. Virtue…
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