Category: women in science

Sarah Frances Whiting (1847-1927) was an astro…

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.

Margaret Morgan Lawrence (b. 1914) is a psychi…

Margaret Morgan Lawrence (b. 1914) is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst whose research focuses
on children and their mental health. She was the chief of the Developmental Psychiatry
Service for Infants and Children at Harlem Hospital for more than two decades.

She studied at Cornell University, where she was
the only African American students and was refused a place in the
race-segregated dormitory. She was then rejected from Cornell Medical School because
of her race, and went on to study at Columbia College. In 1948 she joined the
New York State Psychiatric Institute, the first African American to do so. She later
co-founded the Rockland County Center for Mental Health and the Harlem Family

Lydia Villa-Komaroff (b. 1947) is a Mexican-Am…

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 wo…

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

Zinaida Aksentyeva (1900-1969) was a Soviet-Uk…

was a Soviet-Ukrainian astronomer. She was one of the first scientists who were
able to accurately find the centre of the earth.

graduated from Odessa University in 1924, after which she started working for
the Poltava Observatory – she became its director in 1951. Her research focused
on gravity mapping and the tidal deformation of the planet.

Constance Adams (1964-2018) was an architect w…

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 younges…

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 wo…

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.

Carol Chomsky (1930-2008) was a language educa…

Carol Chomsky (1930-2008) was a language educator and linguist. Her specialism was
language acquisition in children.

She studied at the University of Pennsylvania
and then at Harvard, where she obtained her doctorate in linguistics. Her 1969
book The Acquisition of Syntax in Children from 5 to 10 was crucial in
demonstrating that the language-learning process was an ongoing one through a
child’s life. She also developed a reading technique which greatly improved
fluency and speed.

Mary Styles Harris (b. 1949) is a biologist an…

Mary Styles Harris (b. 1949) is a biologist and geneticist. She has dedicated her career
to researching the health needs of minority communities and providing them with
information and care.

She was one of the first female students at
Lincoln University, where she studied advanced algebra and chemistry, before
moving on to Cornell to study molecular genetics. She has worked as a professor
at several institutions and was the Executive Director of the Sickle Cell
Foundation of Georgia, as well as the President of BioTechnical Communications.