Anandibai Joshee (1865 – 1887)
The death of her newborn son due to inadequate medical care is what inspired her to become a physician. She was also encouraged by her husband to study medicine abroad. Dr. Joshee, MD was in the class of 1886 at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (which was the first women’s medical program in the world).
On her return to India, she was appointed as the physician-in-charge of the female ward of the local Albert Edward Hospital in the princely state of Kolhapur.
Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win this award in two categories: Physics and Chemistry. She discovered polonium and radium and her work helped with the creation of X-rays.
Janaki Ammal (1897-1984)
While most girls at the time were studying fine arts and literature, Janaki Ammal decided to pursue Botany, and later scientific research in cytogenetics and phytogeography. She worked briefly in the UK but returned to India in 1951 to reorganize the Botanical Survey of India (BSI). She served as the Director-General of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI). She also did work on medically important and economically valuable plants.
One of the most important figures in nuclear physics, this German-born American scientist’s favorite subject was mathematics. However, she later took up physics. Meyer is known for suggesting the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She worked on the Manhattan Project during the Second World War. This famous lady scientist became the second woman, after Madam Curie, to win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
Asima Chatterjee (1917 – 2006)
Asima Chatterjee was an Indian chemist noted for her work in the fields of organic chemistry and phytochemistry (chemicals derived from plants). Her most notable work includes research on vinca alkaloids (derived from the periwinkle that is known for its anti-cancer properties) and the development of anti-epileptic and anti-malarial drugs. She also authored a considerable volume of work on medicinal plants of the Indian subcontinent.
The first computer programmer in the world, Ada Lovelace penned her research on the analytical engine, the mechanical general purpose computer of Charles Babbage. Her observations on this engine was acknowledged as the first algorithm. The programming language developed by US Department of Defence is named after her. She has also been portrayed in a movie – Conceiving Ada.
Jane Goodall (1934)
Famous For: Primate studies
Jane Goodall is known worldwide for her groundbreaking studies on primates. She is considered the top expert on chimpanzees in the world and is perhaps best known for her 45-year study on the social lives of these animals in Tanzania.
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889)
Famous For: Findings in astronomy
Maria Mitchell was the very first American female to become a professional astronomer. She discovered a comet in 1847 that was aptly named “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.”
The daughter of two archaeologists, Dorothy Hodgkin, was always curious about the shape of molecules and their functions. The third woman to win the celebrated Nobel Prize in the discipline, this British biochemist was a pioneer in the field of X-ray crystallography and found the structures of various biological molecules. She also won the 1964 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for determining the structure of vitamin B12. Her contributions to medicine have been recognized through many awards and honors.