Tomoko Ohta (b. 1933) is a Japanses scientist,
working in the field of evolutionary biology genetics. She is known as a pioneer
of genetic polymorphism, and the proponent of the nearly neutral theory of
She studied agriculture in Tokyo, after which she moved to
the United States and obtained her PhD from North Carolina State University in
1966. She worked for the Japanese National Institute of Genetics and was later
accepted into the United States National Academy of Sciences as a foreign
associate in evolutionary biology.
Sarah Frances Whiting (1847-1927) was an astronomer and physicist. She was the instructor
of several other scientists, including the famous Annie Jump Cannon.
She studied at Ingham University, and was
appointed as the first professor of physics at Wellesley College in 1875. She
started teaching astronomy five years later. She helped establish the Whitin
Laboratory and became its first director in 1900.
Lydia Villa-Komaroff (b. 1947) is a Mexican-American molecular biologist. She is a founding member of SACNAS, The Society
for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.
She completed her PhD in cell biology at MIT in 1975, and later was part
of the team that discovered how bacteria could generate insulin. In 1996 she
started working for Northwestern Unviersity and became its Vice President for
Martha Vaughan (1926-2018) was a biochemist working for the National Heart Lung and
Blood Institute. She was an emeritus scientist in the Laboratory of Metabollic
Regulation, and her work focused on cellular regulation and lipid metabolism.
She graduated from the Yale School of
Medicine and went on to become the senior assistant surgeon in the laboratory
of Christian Afinsen, who won the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She was a
member of the National Academy of Sciences and of its Committee on Human
Constance Adams (1964-2018) was an architect who worked extensively in space programmes.
She contributed to the design of the cabin for the International Space Station,
and was considered a foremost expert in spaceport planning.
She studied sociology at Harvard, followed
by architecture at Yale. Since the late 1990s, she worked for Lockheed Martin
Space Operations at NASA. In 2005, she was named an Emerging Explorer by National
Tatyana Kuznetsova (1941-2018) was the youngest person ever selected to be a part of a
human spaceflight programme. This happened in 1961, when she was selected as
one of five female cosmonauts by the Soviet government.
She worked as a stenographer for the Ministry
of Radioelectronic Industry, but also took up parachuting as a hobby, becoming
a regional and national champion by the age of 20. She was selected for the
programme as a preparation for the first woman in space – an honour that
eventually went to Valentina Tereshkova.
Maria Dalle Donne (1778-1842) was the first woman to ever obtain a doctorate in
medicine. She achieved this in 1799 at the University of Bologna.
Her research focused on female reproduction and
fertility, as well as neonatal medical issues. She was the second woman to ever
become a member of the prestigious Ordine
dei Benedettini Accademici Pensionati, and in 1832 she became the Director of the Department of Midwifery at
the University of Bologna.
Carolyn Shoemaker (b. 1929) is a teacher and astronomer. Even though her career in
astronomy began at the age of 51, she discovered over 800 asteroids and 32
comets, once holding the record for most comets discovered by an individual.
She first started working in astronomy at
the California Institute of Technology in 1980, where she made her important
discoveries, including 377 minor planets. She received the Exceptional
Scientific Achievement Medal from the US National Aeronautics and Space
Administration in 1996.
Patricia Lindop (1930-2018) was a professor of radiation biology at the University
of London. She was the organiser of at least 100 meetings where scientist
discussed their nuclear disarmament campaign.
She studied medicine at St Bartholomew’s
Hospital Medical College as one of the first ever female students allowed. For
a period, she worked as a general practitioner, before starting to conduct
research on the effects of radiation on the body and publishing more than 40
papers on the subject. She was an important member and organiser of the Pugwash
movement, which brought together scientists who opposed nuclear weapons.
Erna Hoover (b.
1926) is considered a pioneer of computer technology and telecommunication. Her
most notable achievement is inventing a computerized telephone switching method
which prevented system overload during peak calling times in telephone exchanges.
She studied at Wellesley College, and in 1951 she
obtained a PhD in philosophy and foundations of mathematics from Yale. She
later worked as a professor at Swarthmore College and a senior technical
associate at Bell Labs. Her invention revolutionised modern communication by
facilitating a more robust service for call centers, and she was awarded one of
the earliest software patents for it.