women in science

Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

On December 3, 1842, American chemist Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards was born. She was the foremost female industrial and environmental chemist in the United States during the 19th century. Her pioneering work in sanitary engineering and experimental research in domestic science widened professional opportunities for women in the sciences and laid a foundation for the new science of home economics. Richard was educated at home, since both of her parents were trained…
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Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Theory of Colour Vision

Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Theory of Colour Vision

On December 1, 1847, American psychologist, logician, and mathematician Christine Ladd-Franklin was born. She is known for contributions to the theory of color vision accounting for the development of man’s color sense which countered the established views of Helmholtz, Young, and Hering. Her position was that color-sense developed in stages. Christine Ladd-Franklin began her higher education at Vassar College, but had to withdraw after only one year due to financial problems. Fortunately,…
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Dorothea Erxleben – Germany’s First Female Medical Doctor

Dorothea Erxleben – Germany’s First Female Medical Doctor

Dorothea Christiane Erxleben (1715 – 1762) On November 13, 1715, Dorothea Christiane Erxleben, first female medical doctor in Germany was born. It was very hard for her to overcome the prejudices of the University professors and to finish her studies with a proper examination. What is even worse is that it should take until 1901 that the second woman in Germany was able to make her exams as a doctor. Already Erxleben’s father was a doctor in…
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Florence Sabin – Preparing the Ground for Women in Medical Science

Florence Sabin – Preparing the Ground for Women in Medical Science

Florence Sabin (1871 – 1953) On November 9, 1871, American medical scientist Florence Rena Sabin was born. She was a pioneer for women in science. She was the first woman to hold a full professorship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Florence Sabin was born in Colorado, but grew…
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Maria Mitchell and the Comets

Maria Mitchell and the Comets

Maria Mitchell (1814-1889) 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“. Maria Mitchell was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, among nine brothers and sisters to William Mitchell and Lydia Coleman Mitchell, both Unusual for that time, Maria Mitchell’s parents as Quakers valued education and insisted on giving her the same quality…
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Maria Goeppert Mayer and the Nuclear Shell Model

Maria Goeppert Mayer and the Nuclear Shell Model

Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) On June 28, 1906, German-born Physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer was born. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second female Nobel laureate in physics, after Marie Curie. Maria Goeppert was born in Kattowitz, a city in Prussia, the only child of Friedrich Goeppert and his wife Maria. At age 4, she moved with her…
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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. Maybe, first of all you might ask, what is cytogenetics. Well, cytogenetics is a branch of genetics that is concerned with the study of the structure and function of the cell, especially the chromosomes. Chromosomes, as being a single piece of coiled DNA…
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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. Aspasia was born in the Greek city of Miletus (in today’s province Aydın, Turkey) and it is assumed that her family was quite…
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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 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 one of…
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