Mankind is developing thanks to science. It seems that opening up new horizons is the lot of men. In any case, the majority of scientists is a strong gender. Nevertheless, we should not underestimate the role of women in science. For example, the first programmer in the world was Ada Byron, the daughter of a famous poet. One of the first computer languages was named in her honor.
In any period of history it is not difficult to find advanced and talented women scientists who have moved science along with men. Often the achievements of women are undeservedly forgotten, although humanity is using them to the full. Therefore, it is time to remember the most famous women scientists.
Maria Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934).
The life of this woman was unique. Radioactivity has become part of her life, in the direct and figurative sense of the word. Even today, almost 80 years after the death of the scientist, her documents are so “fade” that they can only be viewed with the use of protective means. A Polish emigrant at the beginning of the 20th century, along with her husband, Pierre, worked to obtain radioactive elements such as radium, polonium and uranium. At the same time, scientists did not use any protection, without even thinking about what harm these elements can do to a living person. Many years of work with radium led to the development of leukemia. For carelessness, Maria Curie paid with her life, and in fact she even wore an ampoule with a radioactive element on her chest, as a kind of talisman. The learned heritage of this woman made her immortal. Maria received the Nobel Prize twice – in 1903 in physics with her husband and in 1911 in chemistry herself. Having discovered radium and polonium, the scientist worked in a special Radium Institute, studying radioactivity there. Maria Curie’s work was continued by her daughter, Irene. She also managed to get the Nobel Prize in physics. Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958).
Few know who owns the actual discovery of DNA. By the way, this honor belongs to the English biophysicist, a modest Englishwoman Rosalind Franklin. For a long time, her merits remained in the shadows, and everyone heard the achievements of the colleagues of the scientist, James Watson and Francis Crick. But it is precisely the precise laboratory experiments of a woman, the obtaining of her x-ray image of DNA, which showed a tortuous structure, that made the work so significant. Analysis Franklin allowed to bring the work to its logical conclusion. In 1962, pundits received the Nobel Prize for their discovery, but the woman died of cancer four years before. Rosalind did not survive to triumph, posthumously this prestigious award is not handed.
Liz Meitner (1878-1968).
A native of Vienna studied physics under the leadership of leading European luminaries. In 1926 Meitner managed to become the first woman professor in Germany, a title awarded to her by the University of Berlin. In the 1930s, the woman was engaged in the creation of transuranium elements, in 1939 she was able to explain the splitting of the atomic nucleus, six years before the atomic bombings of Japan. Meitner, along with a colleague, Otto Gahn, conducted research, proving the possibility of splitting the nucleus with the release of a large amount of energy. However, the results of the experiments could not be developed, since in Germany there was a difficult political situation. Meitner fled to Stockholm, refusing to cooperate with America in the creation of new weapons. In 1944, Otto Gan received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of nuclear disintegration. Prominent scientists believed that Liz Meitner was worthy of the same, but because of the intrigues she was simply “forgotten.” In honor of the famous female scientist, 109 elements of Mendeleyev’s table were named. Rachel Carson (1907-1964).
In 1962 the book “Silent Spring” was published. Based on government reports and research, Carson described in her work the harm that pesticides cause to human health and the environment. This book has become an alarming call for humanity, giving rise to environmental movements around the world.The graduate zoologist and marine biologist unexpectedly turned into an eloquent ecologist. And it all started back in the 1940s, when Carson, along with other scientists, expressed concern about the government’s actions in the field of using strong poisons and other chemistry on the fields in the fight against pests. The title of his main book, “Silent Spring” comes from the fear of Rachel to wake up one day and not hear the singing of birds. After publication, the book became a bestseller, despite the author’s threats from chemical companies. Carson died of breast cancer, and not having time to see how important her work was in the struggle to preserve the nature of our planet. Barbara McClintock (1902-1992).
This woman dedicated her life to the study of corn cytogenetics. In his studies, the scientist found that genes can move between different chromosomes, that is, the genetic landscape is not as stable as previously thought. The work of McClintock, carried out by her in the 1940s-1950s over jumping genes and genetic regulation, turned out to be so bold and advanced that no one believed them. For a long time, the scientific world refused to take McClintock’s research seriously, only in 1983 Barbara received the long-deserved Nobel Prize. Conclusions, made by the scientist, formed the basis of modern understanding of genetics. McClintock helped explain how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, and that evolution takes place not by steps, but by leaps.
Ada Lovelace (Byron) (1815-1852).
Computer scientists around the world consider this woman one of the founders of their world. Love for exact sciences Ada inherited from her mother. After getting out, the girl met Charles Babbage, who was a professor at Cambridge and developed his own computer. However, the scientist did not have enough money to create it. But Ada, becoming the wife of Lord Lovelace, gave herself up to science with rapture, considering it her true vocation. She studied Babbage’s machine, describing, in particular, the algorithms for computing the Bernoulli number on it. In fact, it was the first program that could be implemented on a Babbage car, a huge calculator. Although during the life of Ada the car was never assembled, it entered history as the first programmer in history.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910).
Today, many girls graduate from the medical institute, although the entry there is not an easy task. But in the middle of the XIX century, such schools were simply not ready to admit women into their ranks. American Elizabeth Blackwell spontaneously decided to get medical education, in the hope of becoming more independent. Suddenly she faced multiple obstacles, it was hard not only to go to college, but also to study there. Nevertheless, in 1849, Elizabeth received her degree, becoming the first doctor of female medicine in the history of America. But her career stalled – there was no hospital that would want to have a female doctor in its ranks. As a result, Blackwell opened her own practice in New York, not without obstacles from her colleagues. In 1874, Elizabeth, along with Sophia Jacks-Blake, established a medical school for women in London. After leaving medicine, Blackwell devoted herself to reformatory movements, campaigning for prevention, sanitation, family planning, women’s rights.
Jane Goodall (born 1934).
Although man considers himself to be the crown of nature and the supreme being, there are many traits that connect us with animals. This is especially obvious when it comes to primates. Thanks to the work of a primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, humanity took a new look at chimpanzees, we discovered common evolutionary roots. The scientist was able to identify complex social ties in the monkey communities, the use of tools. Goodall talked about the wide range of emotions that primates are experiencing. She devoted 45 years of her life to studying the social life of chimpanzees in the National Park in Tanzania.Goodall became the first researcher who gave her subjects names, not numbers. She showed that the line between man and animals is very subtle, one must learn to be kinder.
Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415).
Ancient women scientists were very rare, because in those days, science was considered to be exclusively a masculine affair. Hypatia received her education from her father, mathematician and philosopher Theon of Alexandria. Thanks to him, as well as his flexible mind, Hypatia became one of the most prominent scientists of her time. The woman was engaged in mathematics, astronomy, mechanics and philosophy. Around 400, she was even invited to lecture at the Alexandria School. A brave and intelligent woman even participated in city politics. As a result, disagreements with religious authorities led to the fact that fanatics-Christians killed Hypatia. Today she is considered the patroness of science, which protects her from the onslaught of religion.
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889).
Among the known astronomers, the name of this woman can hardly be found. But she became the first American to work professionally in this field. Using a telescope, Mary in 1847 discovered a comet, officially named in her honor. For this discovery she was awarded a gold medal, and as a result, Mitchell was awarded the second honor after Caroline Herschel, the first woman astronomer in history. In 1848, Mitchell became the first female member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The scientist in her works was engaged in the compilation of tables of positions of Venus, she traveled throughout Europe. Thanks to Mitchell, the nature of sunspots was explained. In 1865, Mary became a professor of astronomy. Nevertheless, despite her fame in the scientific world, she always remained in the shadow of her male colleagues. This led to the fact that the woman fought for her rights, as well as for the abolition of slavery.