When Marie Sklodowska Curie won the Nobel Prize for the second time in 1911, it was looked upon as an act of pity since her husband had recently died and not as the reward for her breakthrough discovery of elements radium and polonium.
We may have advanced from 20th to the 21st century, shifted from fuel-powered to electric cars, planned colonies on Mars but mankind still refuses to break the shackles of the 19th-century mentality of highlighting men when it comes to any matter of importance.
But here are some women who decided that a judgemental society wasn’t good enough a reason for them to stop and boy! Aren’t we grateful?
Amalie Emmy Noether
“In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius. Thus, far produced since the higher education of women began.”
– Albert Einstein on Emmy Noether
When she was alive, she published her papers under a sobriquet, pretending to be a man and even worked for 7 years without pay. Plus, since it was the 1930s and she was a jew, the world couldn’t appreciate the majesty of Emmy Noether’s brain enough while she lived.
Yet Modern Physics today owes a heck lot to this lady. Her theorems explain the depths of the universe, the laws of conservation and symmetry you’ll find with them, which serve as the groundwork for celebrated researches today.
In 1955, a minor planet was named ‘7001 Noether’ to honor this marvel.
Her book ‘ Mapping The Heavens’ say that when she was young, she felt the need to map herself in the world and thus began the journey of Priyamvada Natarajan. Today, she navigates through gigantic black holes and dark matter to estimate just how our universe is forming and growing.
Her work involves the understanding of how galaxies are reshaping themselves thus, changing our view of the cosmos. A peaking intellectual in her field, when asked on her opinion about girls in cosmology had the same reaction as us, ‘ Why so few?’
Indian Women In Science
On 5 November 2013, each Indian was proud to witness history being made. Mars Orbiter Mission, ISRO’s unprecedented unmanned mission was successfully launched and the feat was met with well-deserved appreciation for the whole team.
Still, some of us are nonchalantly oblivious to the contribution of the brilliant women who worked on that team.
Some of them are Anuradha TK, Geosat Programme Director ISRO, Ritu Karidhal and Nandini Harinath who were the Deputy Operations Directors of MOM, Moumitta Dutta who’s an engineer and was responsible for optical systems of Mangalyaan and finally Minal Sampat, a co-worker on the project.
If you have seen the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ you already know who this lady is.
Being an African-American and a passionate mathematician, working for NASA in the 1950s, Johnson had to walk a rather rough road to achieve her dreams. But it was all worth it. She literally worked as a ‘computer’ for the organization and her talent was put to good use in Mercury Mission, when Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space.
Johnson was so dependable and thorough that she was even asked to recheck the results from the computer machines.
Lady Ada Lovelace
She was the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron but the world recognizes her not because of her lineage, but because of the achievements she owes to her own genius. She understood the concepts of Analytical Engine and wrote and designed algorithms, thus earning the title of the first programmer.
Lovelace predicted the future of computers which is turning into a reality she would be proud of.
Dark matter has been creating a buzz in the scientific community and it all started with an astonished Vera Rubin who was baffled by the results of her own observations of our twin galaxy Andromeda.
But that’s not all, Rubin worked on the rotation of galaxies and the counter-rotation thus tracing back the formation of galaxies involving their merging.
Among her many achievements is a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society. She even got an asteroid and a ridge on Mars named after her. Now, how cool is that!
International Day Of Women and Girls in Science already passed while you were reading this.
Many are still oblivious of immensely talented female intellectuals working in diverse fields of science and that explains a lot.
We have come a long way from 1911 when Curie was denied her Nobel Prize, but we still have a long way to go for us to shift paradigms. Don’t you think?
Comment below if you know some hidden figures as well!