10 Women In Science That Should Be Household Names

Our democracy witnessed the first election in 1789, but women were given the right to vote only after the 19th Constitutional Amendment in 1919. Next month, on March 8th, we will be celebrating International Women’s Day. There will be headlines in the newspapers or a television show, but what after the day of celebration? Of course, we are a developed nation, a pioneer of this century. There is a limited chance for stereotypes against women in the United States compared with the rest of the world. You might have heard your teachers telling you stories of Neil Armstrong or Albert Einstein in our school days, but you will hardly hear storytelling on Mae C. Jemison or Barbara McClintock. This doesn’t mean that our schools do not cover them in the curriculum. Still, you would never have heard a story from their personal life experiences as we get to listen to a bunch of stories about Einstein’s unique life experiences. 

Cinemas and entertainment have victimized our society; have gained popularity more than the idols who shaped our nation. We get to see coverage for celebrities in digital media but no attention for those who contributed to that technology. Keeping aside the women scientists, we do not even pay attention to top NASA scientists or medical researchers who made our life easy. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 women scientists who should be household names. 

We have enlisted the women scientists who contributed to the sciences and shaped our world. The names we enlisted were more than profound scholars of sciences. They were the characters who achieved their goal in adversary situations. 

Maria Goeppert Mayer

Maria Geoppert Mayer received a Nobel prize in physics for her research on the nuclear shell structure in 1963. Maria Mayer was born in Germany and received a Ph.D. from the University of Gottingen in 1930. She migrated to the United States along with her husband and was affiliated with the University of California. As a researcher, she also contributed to the American atom bomb project in World War II. Her struggle is an inspiration for all of us after migration to the United States. 

Marie Curie

Marie Curie is ranked above all the women scientists for her popularity. She is the only female scientist awarded the Nobel prize twice in her lifetime. Marie Curie was a scholar of physics and chemistry but is well known for her research on radioactivity. She received her first Nobel prize in 1903 and second one in 1911. 

Marie Curie is an inspiration for her valuable contribution to physics and her strong character. She continued her studies and research even after the death of her husband. In 1923 she wrote a book on her late husband Pierre Curie, revealing her life experience in her own words. Her story is an inspiration and should be known for all.

Dr. Mathilde Karim

Dr. Mathilde Karim is a significantly less known scientist who contributed to studies of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or popularly known as H.I.V. She conducted research on prevention and treatment of H.I.V., and in 1988 she was awarded the honorary doctorate by Columbia University. Dr. Mathilde Karim’s legacy is not limited to the research area, but she also served as an activist on the ground level. 

Margarete Hamilton

She is one of the early software engineers in the world. She is well known for her contribution to the computer command and codes used in the Apollo mission to the moon. Margarete Hamilton was born in 1936; she created the term software engineer to describe her work. After her valuable contribution to NASA’s Apollo program, she opened two Higher-Order Software and Hamilton Technologies companies. The president of the United States awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 2016.

Dorothy Hodgkin

Dorothy Hodgkin is known for her wide area of research. She was awarded the Nobel prize in 1964 for her discovery of the Vitamin B12 structure. She is the third woman who received the Nobel prize in chemistry after Marie Curie and Irene Juliot-Curie. Dorothy Hodgkin is also known for her valuable discovery contribution in structural biology by discovering advanced X-Ray Crystallography techniques. 

Dorothy Hodgkin was a British nationalist but was born in Egypt and enrolled in studies in England. She received her graduate degree in chemistry in 1928 from Somerville College and a research fellowship in 1932. She is well known for her significant discoveries like Steroid Structure, B12 Vitamin Structure, Insulin Structure, etc. 

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson was born in Virginia and completed her bachelor’s in mathematics and french. She played an important role in NASA’s Apollo mission to Mars. Being an African-American, Katherine was one of the students who got the opportunity to study. She enrolled in Virginia State College and 1937. She has been awarded various honors like the Presidential Medal of Freedom, NASA Group Achievement Award, and Congressional Gold Medal. 

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was a British scientist born in 1920; she is well known for her significant contribution to the chemical structure of D.N.A., R.N.A., coal, and graphite. She completed her graduation from the University of Cambridge in 1941 and was awarded a doctorate in 1945. Her doctorate thesis titled the Physical Chemistry of Solid Organic Colloids with Special Reference to Coal shows her profound ideas and strong command over chemistry. 

She died in just 37 years of her age, but she had earned a considerable amount of chemistry knowledge. 

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner is well known for her contributions to physics. Her strength comes to be known from when Albert Einstein called her the German Marie Curie. Lise Meitner was born in 1878 and completed education at the University of Vienna. She received her doctorate in 1905 from the same university and became the second woman who received a Ph.D. in physics after Elsa Neumann. Lise Meitner contributed significantly in the fields of protactinium and nuclear fission. 

Lise Meitner’s life struggle is most influential because she struggled during the times of World War II. She flew from Germany in the 1930s and settled in Sweden. 

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was born in 1907 in Pennsylvania. She is a well-known fiction writer and a biologist who received her graduation from Chatham University and post-graduation from Johns Hopkins University. Rachel Carson’s most notable books are Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, and the Silent Spring. 

Rachel Carson is an influential personality who contributed to science and fiction writings. 

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is a living legend who contributed a lot to primatology and anthropology. Her most notable contribution is environmental issues. Even at this old age, she is continuously working to solve ecological problems. She is more than an anthropologist who studied the chimpanzees. Her legacy is social issues and humanitarian activities. 


Here we presented a list of women scientists who are known for their significant contribution to science. But more than science, their life struggle is the most inspiration for us. Therefore, we think that these names should be household names; known for all and their legacy celebrated. 


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