October 13th, 2015

No.1 female Scientists,Technologists,Engineers & Mathematicians

Female Role Models for STEM – 13th October is Ada Lovelace Day

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Who are your No.1 female Scientists,Technologists,Engineers & Mathematicians?

The 13th October is Ada Lovelace Day. It celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) and a pioneer of computing. She wrote the first computer code.

Who are your No.1 female Scientists,Technologists,Engineers & Mathematicians? Please add a comment to share your favourites. A few suggestions are shown in the poster below.

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The Top Secret Rosies were the female mathematicians and scientists who cracked codes during WWII. They were ‘human computers’ when ‘computer’ was understood to mean ‘one who computes’.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin wrote the most important astrophysics PhD of the 20th century, discovering what the universe is made of. She was only 25 when she claimed that the sun, all stars and therefore, the universe itself were composed mainly of hydrogen. Henry Norris Russell – the leading contemporary expert on stellar spectra, dismissed the young woman’s thesis as ‘impossible’, but four years later published a paper of this own announcing the exact same conclusions. While her name should be as well-known as that of Galileo, Newton or Einstein, the patriarchal structure of academia prevented her from achieving such status. Today, all our science text books name hydrogen as the most abundant atom in the universe, but few acknowledge how we got to such an essential conclusion.

Roxie Collie Laybourne – Pioneering Aeronautical Engineer. She researched birds getting stuck in plane engines and has prevented thousands of bird related plane crashes each year.

Barbara Cartland – invented the long distance aeroplane towed glider. Her concept revolutionised the aero industry and was implemented by armies on both sides of WWII. She received the Bishop Wright Air industry Award at Kennedy Airport USA for her contribution to the development of aviation. Aerotow gliders had been used in Germany but only to travel short distances and perform tricks. Barbara worked with two RAF soldiers to build her own long distance glider craft and flew it over 200 miles delivering a sack of airmail. She raced a passenger train to the destination and Barbara got there first.

Dr Jane Cooke Wright – developed the first chemotherapy drug

Sunita Williams – Engineer and NASA Astronaut. She repaired, improved and added installations to the space station. She holds the record for the most spacewalks and spacewalk hours completed by a woman and the second longest spacewalk at 8 hours 17 minutes.