3 Inspirational & Motivational Women in the History of Science

All too often science is seen as a male field, and women who are interested in science, mathematics or computers can be put off by the idea that science is not for them.

In fact, the history of science and some of the most amazing discoveries feature many amazing women who made vital and impressive contributions. Check out these pioneering women.

Marie Curie
Perhaps one of the most famous scientists who have ever lived, Marie Curie was the first person to ever be awarded not just one, but two Nobel Prizes — one for Physics and one for Chemistry. She is still the only person to have won a Nobel Prize in two different scientific disciplines.

Her first Nobel Prize was for physics and was awarded in 1903 to her, her husband and another physicist. In 1911 she received her second Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Her accomplishments included the discovery of new elements and research into the properties of radiation and radioactive elements. Her contributions to science eventually led to her death in 1934 as her exposure to radiation gave her fatal aplastic anemia.

Ada Lovelace
While computer programming is often seen as a traditionally male domain, the very first computer program was actually written by a woman.

Ada Lovelace was a British aristocrat of the mid-nineteenth century. When she was young she became interested in mathematics, particularly Charles' Babbage's analytical engine — an unbuilt design for a general-use mechanical computer.

In the 1840s she translated an Italian article on the engine and included her own notes. These notes were where she wrote her algorithm: the first computer program. While her contemporaries saw the main aim of computers to simply be the calculation of various numbers, Lovelace thought that they could go much further, although it's unlikely she predicted SEO services and YouTube!

Rosalind Franklin
Ask most people who discovered the structure of DNA, and if they have an answer at all, they will say that it was James Watson and Francis Crick. Indeed, they published the paper that showed its structure and won a Nobel Prize, but they were using the work of a woman, Rosalind Franklin.

Franklin used X-ray diffraction to make images of various molecular structures, including DNA. It was her images and interpretations of her results that gave Crick and Watson the information they needed. Watson looked at her data without her permission, and her contributions were barely mentioned in their paper. However, Francis Crick apologized for how she was treated in the afterword to his book on the discovery of DNA. Sadly, this was too late, as Franklin died in 1958 at the age of just 37.
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