women in technology

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 business because…
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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 and Sudan…
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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 children into…
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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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Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation

Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation

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 of women aviation pioneers here at yovisto blog can proof (cf. below). We already reported on…
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Aviatrix Amy Johnson and the Flight to Australia

Aviatrix Amy Johnson and the Flight to Australia

On May 24, 1930, pioneering English aviatrix Ami Johnson safely landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia after a 18.000km flight, becoming the first woman pilot to fly solo from England to Australia. Amy Johnson earned her Bachelor if Arts degree in economics at the University of Sheffield. She was introduced to flying and gained the “A” pilot licence in 1929, followed by the “C” licence shortly after. She was highly supported by her father and he…
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Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

On May 12, 1820, celebrated British social reformer and statistician Florence Nightingale was born. She is best known for being the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was known as “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night. It is known that Florence Nightingale was a very well educated…
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Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess (also known as Maria Prophetissima or Miriam the Prophetess) is a figure who first appeared in the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis, whose sources for this are not clear. On the basis of Zosimos’s comments, she lived between the first and third centuries A.D. She is credited with the invention of several kinds of chemical apparatus and is considered to be the first true alchemist of the…
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Harriet Quimby – the First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel

Harriet Quimby – the First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel

On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She was the the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States. Although Quimby lived only to the age of thirty-seven, she had a major influence upon the role of women in aviation. Harriet Quimby was born into a farmer’s family in Michigan and moved to San Francisco in order to become an…
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Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th-century Alsatian nun and abbess of Hohenburg Abbey in the Vosges mountains. She is known as the author of the pictorial encyclopedia Hortus Deliciarum (The Garden of Delights). It is assumed that Herrad of Landsberg was born around 1130. Hohenburg Abbey, also known as Mont St Odile, was run by Abbess Relinda, a nun sent from the Benedictine monastery of Bergen in Bavaria. Due to her support…
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