JULY 15, 2011
 To take a historical journey to review the role of women in
 To visit some of the women who made great contributions
during their lives
 To look at how legislation has affected the role of women
in science
 To look at the current issues of women in science
Natural Philosophers
 Grammar
 Rhetoric
 Logic
 Mathematics
 Geometry
 Music
 Astronomy
Early Natural Philosophers
Merit Ptah
 Merit Ptah, Egyptian—2700 BCE
 Physician
 First woman known by name in the history of science
En Hedu’Anna
 En Hedu’Anna—Babylon (Iraq), 2300-2225 BCE
 Astronomer—Priestess of the Moon Goddess
 Earliest known author and poet
 Revered as the most important religious figure of her day
"The true woman who possesses exceeding wisdom,
She consults [employs] a tablet of lapis lazuli
She gives advice to all lands...
She measures off the heavens,
She places the measuring-cords on the earth."
 Lei-Tzu (Si Ling-Chi), Empress of China 2640 BCE
 First Empress of China
 Developed the process to remove silk from cocoons
 Established silk cultivation farms
 Sondok—Korean, 630 C.E.
 Astronomer
 Built the observatory called “Tower of the Moon and Sun”
 Theano— Italian, 546 BCE
 Wife of Pythagorus
 Mathematician
 Was the head of Pythagorus’ school
 Said to have authored the treatise on
the Golden Mean
 Hypatia—Egyptian, 355-415 BC
 Daughter of Theon
 Taught mathematics and natural philosophy in Alexandria
 Father told her,” Reserve your right to think, for even to
think wrongly is better than to not think at all.”
Nor Mahal
 Nor Mahal—Indian, 17th Century
 Inventor
 Aunt of Queen Mumtaz Mahal
 Invented distilling device to make perfume
 Credited with the invention for method of
weaving cashmere shawls
Scientists and Engineers
Laura Maria Caterina Bassl
 Laura Maria Caterina Bassl—Italian, 1711-1778
 Philosopher
 First woman to officially teach at a college in Europe
 Taught courses in Newtonian physics
 Published 28 papers on physics and hydraulics
Florence Nightingale
 Florence Nightingale—English, 1820-1910
 Nurse—established the first secular nursing school at St. Thomas
Hospital in London in 1860
 Writer—published texts on nursing which provided guidance to all
who entered that profession
 Statistician– a keen mathematician who was influenced by her
father. She was a pioneer in the development of visual
presentation of statistics—polar area diagram.
Angelina Fannie Hess
 American, 1850-1934
 Homemaker--1881, Germany, used agar-agar, an extract of
seaweed, to develop a substance that bacteria could grow on
 Instrumental for the advancement of bacteriology and still
used today
Emmy Noether
 Emmy Noether—German, 1882-1935
 Mathematician
 Founder of abstract algebra
 Colleague of Albert Einstein
 Developed Noether’s Theorem—the foundation of quantum
 “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far
produced since the higher education of women began.”—Albert
Nobel Prize
Marie Sklodowska Curie
 Marie Sklodowska Curie—Polish, 1867-1934
 She developed methods for the separation of radium from
radioactive residues
 Physicist—won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903
 Won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911
Irene Joliot-Curie
 Irene Joliet-Curie—French, 1897-1956
 Radiochemist
 Discovered artificial radiation
 Daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie
 Won Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935
Gerty Radnitz Cori
 Gerty Radnitz Cori—Czechoslovakian, 1896-1957
 Biochemist
 Married Carl Cori and together pioneered the study of enzymes and
 Discovered how cells convert food into energy—the Cori Cycle
 Enzyme deficiencies studies led to studies in inherited disorders
 Shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with her husband in 1947
Maria Goeppert Mayer
 Maria Goeppert Mayer—German, 1906-1972
 Mathematical Physicist
 Specialized in Quantum Mechanics
 Won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 for her work on the
structure of the nuclear shell
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin—English, 1910-1994
 Physical Chemist/Crystallographer
 Used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of
penicillin during World War II
 Later discovered the structure of vitamin B12 and insulin
 Won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow
 Rosalyn Sussman Yalow—American, 1921-2011
 Medical Physicist
 Developed the method for doing radioimmunoassays
 Furthered the field of neuroendocrinology
 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1977
Barbara McClintock
 Barbara McClintock—American, 1902-1992
 Geneticist, whose research was on the genetics of corn
 Won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 for
her work on transposable genes
Rita Levi-Montalcini
 Rita Levi-Montalcini—Italian, 1909 Neuroembyologist
 Durine Mussolini’s dictatorship she did her earliest research
in a make-shift laboratory in a bedroom of her house
 Discovered nerve growth factor with Stanley Cohen
 Shared the Nobel Prize with Cohen in 1986
Gertrude Belle Elion
 Gertrude Belle Elion—American, 1918-1999
 Biochemist
 Discovered drugs used to treat childhood leukemia
 Made organ transplants possible with the discovery of
 Helped to develop AZT—the drug used to treat HIV infections
 Won the Nobel prize for physiology and medicine in 1988
Christiane Nusslein-Vollhard
 Christiane Nusslein-Vollhard—German, 1942 Developmental Biologist
 Asked and answered the question, “How does a single cell
develop into a complex living being?”
 Discovered that part of the same gene can code for more
than one thing
 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1995—first German
woman to win the Nobel prize in science
Lillian Moller Gilbreth
 Lillian Moller Gilbreth—American, 1878-1972
 Psychologist and Industrial Engineer
 One of the first working female engineers with a PhD
 Expert on motion study and human factors
 She did research on fatigue studies which was the forerunner
of ergonomics
 Patented kitchen appliances such as the food mixer and the
trash can with automatic lid opener
Lise Meitner
 Lise Meitner—Austrian, 1878-1968
 Nuclear Physicist
 Director of the Center for Radiation Physics in Berlin—19191939
 Studied with Max Plank
 Worked with Otto Hahn
 Studied radioactivity
 Discovered protactinium
 Did experiments which provided the evidence for nuclear
Rosalind Franklin
 Rosalind Franklin—English, 1920-1958
 Physical Chemist
 Did extensive work to understand coal and carbon—
advanced the science of high-strength carbon fibers
 Studied X-ray crystallography in order to understand matter
 Pioneered the use of X-ray diffraction
 Was the first to recognize the helical nature of DNA
Chien Shiung Wu
 Chien Shiung Wu—Chinese, 1912-1997
 Physicist
 1957-disproved the law of parity
 Nobel Prize won by her co-workers Lee and Yang but not Wu.
 Once commented, “Men have always dominated the fields of
science and technology. Look what an environmental mess
we are in.”
Joanne Simpson
 Joanne Simpson—American, 1923-2010
 First woman to receive her PhD in meteorology
 With Howard Riehl proposed the “hot tower” hypothesis in
 Won the Carl-Gustaf Rosby award—the highest honor
bestowed by the American Meteorological Association
Li Fanghua
 Li Fanghua—Chinese, 1932 Physicist
 Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences
 Specialist in Electron Microscopy
 Her work helped to advance the observation of crystaline
 First Chinese woman scientist to receive the L’Oreal-UNESCO
Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun
 Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun—Chinese, 1947 Director General of the World Health Organization
 Physician
 First female to head the Hong Kong Department of Health
Laws and Regulations
International Law
 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, 1946
 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women—New York, December 1979
Title IX and Title XV
 Title XV of the Education Amendments of 1972
 A United States law that amended the Title IX of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964
 “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be
excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or
be subjected to discrimination under any education program
or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”
Pre Title IX
 Many schools and universities had separate entrances for
male and female students
 Most medical schools limited the number of females
accepted to 15 or fewer per school
 Many schools required women to have better entrance
exam scores than men
 Women faculty members were excluded from faculty clubs
Pre Title IX
 1973, 43% of female high school graduates were enrolled
in college
 1971, 18% of young women and 26% of young men
completed four years of college
 1972, women received 9% of medical degrees and 1% of
dental degrees
 1971, women earned 7% of the law degrees
Post Title IX
 1994, 64% of female high school graduates were enrolled
in college
 1994, 27% of young women and young men completed
four years of college
 1994, women received 38% of medical degrees and 38% of
dental degrees
 1994, women earned 43% of the law degrees
Today’s Woman Scientist
Washington State Public Health Laboratories
Seattle, Washington
Microbiology Laboratory
 Women in Microbiology—24 women, of those 9 are from other
 Latha—India
 Dolores—Phillipines
 Nusrat—Pakistan
 Ailyn-Venezuela
 Julie-Taiwan
 Mi-Korea
 Alla-Ukraine
 Phu-Viet Nam
 Ramazani-Congo
 Women have played a major role in science since time
 Most women in science received encouragement to pursue
their careers from family members or teachers and
 Sometimes it take changes in laws to make changes in
 Women will continue to have a significant impact on
science despite the many roles they play
 Hypatia—Egyptian, 355-415 BC
” Reserve your right to think, for even to think
wrongly is better than to not think at all.”