Women in Science

How Margaret Hamilton Helped Apollo 11 to Safely Land on the Moon

How Margaret Hamilton Helped Apollo 11 to Safely Land on the Moon

On August 17, 1936, American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner Margaret Hamilton was born. Hamilton was Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. A Software Developer at MIT Margaret Elaine Heafield was born in Paoli, Indiana, USA, to Kenneth Heafield and Ruth Esther Heafield.  Hamilton graduated from Hancock High School in 1954 and received her B.Sc.…
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Mileva Marić – The Theory of Relativity and Missed Opportunities

Mileva Marić – The Theory of Relativity and Missed Opportunities

On December 19, 1875, Serbian physicist Mileva Marić, sometimes called Mileva Marić-Einstein, was born. Marić was the second woman to finish a full program of study of mathematics and physics at ETH Zurich, where she met her future husband Albert Einstein. When Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 after their divorce, he transferred the prize money to Marić. The question whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed to Einstein‘s…
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Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Between October 20 and October 29, 1711, Italian physicist and academic Laura Maria Caterina Bassi was born. Bassi is referred to as being the first woman to earn a professorship in physics at a university in Europe and is recognized as the first woman in the world to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies. She contributed immensely to the field of science while also helping to spread the…
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Hertha Ayrton – Arc Lights and Ripples in the Sand

Hertha Ayrton – Arc Lights and Ripples in the Sand

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 so), and…
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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 School for…
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Katherine Esau and the Anatomy of Plants

Katherine Esau and the Anatomy of Plants

On April 3, 1898, German-American botanist Katherine Esau was born. Esau did groundbreaking work in the structure and workings of plants. She is best known for her research into the effects of viruses upon plant tissues, and her studies of plant tissue structures and physiology. “I found ways of maintaining spiritual independence while adjusting myself to established policies. . . . I have never felt that my career was being affected by the…
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Melanie Klein and the Psychoanalysis of Children

Melanie Klein and the Psychoanalysis of Children

On March 30, 1882, Austrian–British psychoanalyst Melanie Reizes Klein was born. Klein is known for her work with young children, in which observations of free play provided insights into the child‘s unconscious fantasy life, enabling her to psychoanalyze children as young as two or three years of age. She was a leading innovator in object relations theory. “Feelings of love and gratitude arise directly and spontaneously in the baby in response to…
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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 United States…
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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. Family and Early Life Rita Levi-Montalcini was born on 22 April 1909 in Turin. Rita and her twin sister Paola…
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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 km 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. The Childhood of a Future Explorer Ida Pfeiffer was…
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