women in technology

Amelia Earhart – Record-breaking Aviation Pioneer

Amelia Earhart – Record-breaking Aviation Pioneer

On January 11, 1935, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California accross the Pacific ocean. The first contact Earhart made with aviation was when she was 10-years old and visiting a plane state fair, but she was not quite impressed. A few years later, she visited a stunt-flying exhibition and after pilot Frank Hawks gave her a short ride on…
Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

On January 9, 1848, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, German-British astronomer and sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel, passed away at age 98. She is best know for the discovery of several comets, in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name. Caroline Herschel grew up in the German town Hannover where she worked at her parent‘s home as a housekeeper and received a musical education followed by a starting career as…
Ida Henrietta Hyde and the Microelectrode

Ida Henrietta Hyde and the Microelectrode

On September 8, 1857, American physiologist Ida Henrietta Hyde was born. Hyde is known for developing a micro-electrode powerful enough to stimulate tissue chemically or electronically, yet small enough to inject or remove tissue from a cell. The microelectrode has been said to have revolutionized neurophysiology. Ida Henrietta Hyde grew up in Chicago, where she was sent to a public school. In 1871, the family home was destroyed in the…
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and the Composition of Stars

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and the Composition of Stars

On May 10, 1900, British–American astronomer and astrophysicist Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was born. She was the first to apply laws of atomic physics to the study of the temperature and density of stellar bodies, and the first to conclude that hydrogen and helium are the two most common elements in the universe. It was another 20 years before Payne’s original claim was confirmed, by Fred Hoyle. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin earned a…
Hazel Bishop and the Long Lasting Lipstick

Hazel Bishop and the Long Lasting Lipstick

Image: Flickr On August 17, 1906, US-American chemist Hazel Gladys Bishop was born. She is best known as the inventor of the first long lasting lipstick in 1949, an invention on which she founded a successful cosmetic company. Hazel Gladys Bishop graduated in 1929, earning a degree in chemistry. It is assumed that originally, Bishop intended to become a doctor, but instead left medical school and started her career in bio-chemistry.…
Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

Stephanie Kwolek (1923 – 2014) Image: Chemical Heritage Foundation On July 31, 1923, American polymer chemist Stephanie Louise Kwolek was born. She is best known for her invention of poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – better known as Kevlar. Stephanie Kwolek inherited her love for fabrics and sewing from her mother. Before thinking about chemistry, Kwolek thought, she might become a fashion designer, but her mother warned her she would probably starve in that…
Dorothy Hodgkin and the Structure of Penicilin

Dorothy Hodgkin and the Structure of Penicilin

Dorothy Hodgkin (1910 – 1994) On July 29, 1994, British chemist and Nobel Laureate Dorothy Mary Hodgkin passed away. She advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. Among her most influential discoveries are the confirmation of the structure of penicillin. Dorothy Crowfoot’s (late Hodgkin’s) interest in chemistry started around the age of only 10. Her parents were involved in education projects in Egypt…
Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin (1920–1958) On July 25, 1920, British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born. She made the first clear X-ray images of DNA’s structure. Her work was described as the most beautiful X-ray photographs ever taken. Franklin’s ‘Photo 51’ informed Crick and Watson of DNA’s double helix structure for which they were awarded a Nobel Prize. Rosalind Franklin was born in Notting Hill, London, as the second of five…
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…
Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation

Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation

Elli Beinhorn arrives at Berlin Tempelhof in 1931 Image Source: German Federal Archive, Accession number:102-11633 On May 30, 1907, German aviatrix and stunt pilot Elly Beinhorn was born. In the 1930s she broke several long distance flight records including flying over three continents in a single day. When it comes to the history of aviation, there seem to be less gender issues compared to other technological disciplines, as our growing list…
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