Saturday, July 9, 2011

Famous Women Of Scientists

Women have made valuable contributions to science. Some of the women scientists of the very ancient times have faced difficulties in getting the due recognition of their work from the society. With the passing years, the society realized the value of their scientific works and today, they are held in high regard. Here is an overview of some very famous women scientists who have made a difference to the society.

Anita Roberts: She was a molecular biologist who was instrumental in the discovery of the protein TGF-beta. This protein has the potential of playing a dual role of blocking as well as stimulating cancer and it helps in the healing of wounds and fractures. Anita Roberts is one of the most-cited scientists in the world.

Annie Easley: She is an African American computer scientist who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Lewis Research Center. She was a part of the team that developed the software for the Centaur rocket stage.

Barbara McClintock: She was an American scientist who won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983. She led the development of the maize cytogenetics and studied the changes that the chromosomes in maize undergo during the process of reproduction. She discovered the process of transposition and used it to demonstrate how genes are associated with the presence or absence of certain physical characteristics in human beings. She is one of the most famous cytogeneticists of the world.

Christiane Nusslein-Volhard: She is a German biologist who conducted a successful research in mutagenesis to demonstrate the embryonic development in fruit flies. For her research on the genetic control of embryonic development, she won the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1991 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995.

Diane Fossey: She was an American zoologist who completed an extensive study of eight gorilla groups by closely observing their lives in the mountain forests of Rwanda. Her work was similar to Jane Goodall’s research on chimpanzees.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin: She was a British chemist who worked in the field of protein crystallography. She was instrumental in determining the structure of penicillin and vitamin B12. This work earned her a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She also discovered the chemical composition of insulin. Passionate and peace-loving by nature, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin is one of the most notable scientists in the field of X-ray crystallography.

Grace Hopper: She was a computer scientist and a naval officer of the United States. She developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She pioneered the idea of writing computer programs in a language close to English. She was instrumental in the establishment of testing standards for computer systems and components. She made an excellent naval career while also making valuable contributions to the computer technology.

Gertrude B. Elion: She is a notable American biochemist and pharmacologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She is attributed with the discovery many drugs, the most significant one being the AIDS drug, AZT. She received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 followed by the National Medal of Science in 1991 and the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. She was inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and was the first woman to receive this honor.

Gerty Theresa Cori: She was an American biochemist and the proud winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which she shared with her husband. The Cori couple was awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of glycogen.

Helen Flanders Dunbar: She has made a valuable contribution to psychosomatic medicine and psychobiology.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt: She was an American astronomer who began working at the Harvard College Observatory as a woman 'computer' to record the brightness of stars. She was among the first ones to note that variable stars followed a pattern. She deduced that the brighter ones have longer periods. This relationship derived by her proved helpful for measuring distances in the Universe. It was due to her research that we realized that many galaxies are outside the Milky Way. The Leavitt crater on the Moon was named in her honor. She continues to be one of the most notable figures in astronomy and physics.

Irene Joliot-Curie: She was a French scientist who started as a teacher of laboratory techniques for radiochemical research to Frederic Joliot, who later became her husband. Their joint accomplishment of the discovery of artificial radioactivity earned them a Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Jane Goodall: She is an English UN Messenger of Peace as also an anthropologist who is renowned for her study of the chimpanzees. She spent long years in studying the social and family interactions between chimpanzees and went on to found the Jane Goodall Institute.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell: She is an astrophysicist who discovered the first radio pulsars. This accomplishment earned her a Nobel Prize.

Linda B. Buck: She is an American biologist who has made a noteworthy contribution to the research on olfactory system. In 2004, she won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Lise Meitner: Born in Austria, Lise Meitner was a Swedish physicist who worked in the fields of radioactivity and nuclear physics. She was a part of the team that discovered nuclear fission and was one of the potential winners of the Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie: Raised in Poland and a citizen of France, Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist and the only person to receive Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. She served the University of Paris as a professor and became the first woman to do so. She is credited with the creation of the theory of radioactivity and the discovery of polonium and radium.

Maria Goeppert Mayer: She was a German-born American physicist and the winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics. She was the second woman scientist receiving a Nobel Prize in Physics, after Marie Curie. She received the Nobel Prize for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus.

Rachel Zimmerman: At a very young age, she came up with a software that made it possible to use Blissymbols that enable those with severe physical disabilities to communicate. She designed a printer that could translate symbols into the written language.

Rita Levi-Montalcini: For her discovery of the nerve growth factor, she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986. This Italian neurologist, aged 99, is the oldest living Nobel Prize winner.

Rosalind Franklin: She was an English biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who contributed to understanding the compositions of DNA and viruses. She also contributed to understanding the structures of graphite and coal. Her most noteworthy work is that on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA.

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