Famous Women Scientist in History
Throughout history there have been women who have dreamt of becoming a scientist since
the time they were a kid. However, it is a fact that female scientists have faced
challenges gaining recognition for their achievements in a society where males have
dominated the profession. Those that actually have become famous women scientist in history, such as
Marie Curie, have had the burden of having to overcome many obstacles, when what they
really wanted was to simply make the world a better place. The information below lists
some important and famous female scientist in history and the reason why their contributions are so
In the world of science, females tend to get overlooked for their achievements,
inventions and discoveries. Whether they have become physicists, pharmacologists,
astronomers, physicians, mathematicians, chemists, geneticists or anthropologists, there
have been women that should be remembered not only for advancing science, but for
eradicating the notion that science is a mans domain.
Facts about Famous Women Scientists from Early History
- Merit Ptah is remembered as possibly being the very first woman scientist in history.
She was both a physician and scientist who lived in ancient Egypt around 2700 BC. Modern astronomers were so impressed with her that a famous crater on Venus was named after her.
- En Hedu Anna from ancient Babylon followed the patterns and cycles of the moon and stars almost 4000 years ago in her powerful position as astronomer and High
Priestess of the moon god. She is also the oldest known author with 48 poems to her credit.
- Another early Egyptian scientist was Hypatia of Alexandria, who lived around 400 AD. She is one of the earliest notable female astronomers and mathematicians.
Facts about Famous Women Scientists from the Modern Era
- Born in England in 1821, Elizabeth Blackwell went to Geneva College where she was the
first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S. She persevered after being turned down
by numerous colleges just as she persevered when landlords would not rent her space for a practice. She eventually opened her own womens medical college which ran for
- Womens achievements in the modern era of science must include Marie Curie. Her research
as a physicist and chemist led to a new field of study called Atomic Physics which
eventually led to the discovery of radioactivity. She was also the first women to win a
Nobel Prize in 1903. Her daughter, Irene Curie-Joliot, went on to follow in her footsteps and discovered artificial radioactivity with her husband. Like her mother,
she too won a Nobel Prize, making them the first mother/daughter to win the prize.
- Born in 1799, Mary Anning had a passion for fossils sparked by her brother's discovery of
an Ichthyosaurus near their home. With almost no formal education, her extensive
knowledge of paleontology was almost entirely self-taught. She went on to become world
renowned in her field.
The list of famous women scientists continues to grow as women forge ahead in a field once, but no longer, dominated by males. Below are 10 more notable female
scientists with impressive contributions to science.
- Emilie du Chatelet (1706 - 1749)
- Jane Goodall (Born 1934)
- Rachel Cason (1907-1964)
- Mary Somerville (1780 - 1872)
- Maria Mitchell (1818 - 1889)
- Caroline Herschel (1750 - 1848)
- Rosalind Franklin (1920 - 1958)
- Dorothy Hodgkin (1910 - 1994)
- Barbara McClintock (1902 - 1992)
- Lise Meitner (1878 - 1968)