women in science

Eleanor J. Gibson and the Visual Cliff

Eleanor J. Gibson and the Visual Cliff

On December 7, 1910, American psychologist Eleanor Jack Gibson was born. Gibson focused on reading development and perceptual learning in infants and toddlers. In the 1960s and 1970s Gibson, with her husband James J. Gibson, created the Gibsonian ecological theory of development which emphasized how important perception was because it allows humans to adapt to their environments. Perhaps her most well-known contribution to psychology was the “visual cliff“, which studied depth…
Hertha Ayrton and the Arc Lights

Hertha Ayrton and the Arc Lights

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…
Marianne Weber and the Status of Women

Marianne Weber and the Status of Women

On August 2, 1870, Marianne Weber, sociologist, women’s rights activist and wife of sociologist Max Weber was born. 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. Marianne Weber was born as Marianne Schnitger in 1870. Her mother was Anna Wever, the daughter of a businessman named Karl Weber.…
Mary Jane Rathbun and the Crustacea

Mary Jane Rathbun and the 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. Mary Jane Rathbun was a…
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. Ruth Fulton Benedict first attended lectures at the New…
Helen B. Taussig and Pediatric Cardiology

Helen B. Taussig and Pediatric Cardiology

On May 24, 1898, American cardiologist Helen Brooke Taussig was born. Taussig is often referred to as the founder of the field of pediatric cardiology. Notably, she is credited with developing the concept for a procedure that would extend the lives of children born with Tetralogy of Fallot (the most common cause of blue baby syndrome). This concept was applied in practice as a procedure known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt.…
Elizabeth Blackwell M. D.

Elizabeth Blackwell M. D.

On February 3, 1821, British-born physician Elizabeth Blackwell was born. Blackwell is notable as the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, as well as the first woman on the UK Medical Register. She was the first woman to graduate from medical school, a pioneer in promoting the education of women in medicine in the United States, and a social and moral reformer in both the…
Gertrude Caton Thompson and Prehistoric Egypt

Gertrude Caton Thompson and Prehistoric Egypt

On February 1, 1888, English archaeologist Gertrude Caton Thompson was born. Thompson was an influential archaeologist at a time when participation by women in the discipline was rather uncommon working primarily in Egypt. She was able to distinguish two prehistoric cultures in the Al-Fayyum depression of Upper Egypt, the older dating to about 5000 BC and the younger to about 4500 BC. Gertrude Caton Thompson traveled to Egypt with her mother…
Rita Levi-Montalcini and the Nerve Growth Factor

Rita Levi-Montalcini and the Nerve Growth Factor

On December 30, 2011, Italian neurologist and Nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini passed away. Levi-Montalcini was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF), which stimulates and influences both the normal and abnormal the growth of nerve cells in the body. Rita Levi-Montalcini was born on 22 April 1909 in Turin. It is believed that she admired the…
Around the World with Ida Pfeiffer

Around the World with Ida Pfeiffer

On October 28, 1858, Austrian traveler and travel book author Ida Laura Pfeiffer passed away. Pfeiffer was one of the first female explorers, whose popular books were translated into seven languages. On her voyages, she travelled more than 240.000 by sea and 32.000 km on land over four continents. During her travels Ida Pfeiffer collected plants, insects, mollusks, marine life and mineral specimens. Ida Pfeiffer was born in Vienna. She was…
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