women in technology

Hazel Bishop and the Long Lasting Lipstick

Hazel Bishop and the Long Lasting Lipstick

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. One year after earning…
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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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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. Youth and Education It is known that Florence Nightingale was a…
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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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A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) On December 17, 1706, French mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet was born. Her major achievement is considered to be her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton‘s work Principia Mathematica, which still is the standard French translation of Newton‘s work today. Philosopher and author Voltaire, one of her lovers, once declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of…
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