Women in Science

Alice Lee, one of the first women to attend London University, challenged the predominant notion that men's brains were larger and therefore intellectually superior.

The Statistician Who Debunked Sexist Myths About Skull Size and Intelligence

Though she laid bare the false claim of women's intellectual inferiority, Alice Lee failed to apply the same logic to race

Remembering Nancy Grace Roman, Trailblazing Astronomer Known as ‘Mother of the Hubble’

She worked on and advocated for the space telescope, which changed our view of the universe

In the late 19th century, Ellen Swallow Richards worked to equip women with the tools of chemistry.

The First Female Student at MIT Started an All-Women Chemistry Lab and Fought for Food Safety

Ellen Swallow Richards applied chemistry to the home to advocate for consumer safety and women's education

New Butterfly Species Named After 17th-Century Female Naturalist

Maria Sibylla Merian documented the lifecycles of moths and butterflies with unprecedented accuracy

Zelia Nuttall, who began an academic career in archaeology after she divorced her archaeologist husband in 1888, is best known for her work on ancient Mexican manuscripts.

The Archaeologist Who Helped Mexico Find Glory in Its Indigenous Past

Disrupting a stereotype of Mesoamerican savagery, Zelia Nuttall brought the ingenuity of Aztec civilization to the fore

Navy Chief Petty Officers are pictured with retired Navy engineer Raye Montague after her keynote speech at a Women's History Month Observance held at Naval Support Activity South Potomac on April 4, 2017.

Raye Montague, a Barrier-Breaking Naval Ship Designer, Has Died at 83

Despite facing racism and sexism at nearly every turn, Montague produced the first computer-made Navy warship design

The Woman Who Made a Device to Help Disabled Veterans Feed Themselves—and Gave It Away for Free

World War II nurse Bessie Blount went on to become an inventor and forensic handwriting expert

From L to R: Frances H. Arnold was recognized for her work in the directed evolution of enzymes, while George P. Smith and Sir Gregory Winter were honored for the phage display of peptides and antibodies

Three Evolutionary Scientists Share This Year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Frances Arnold, George Smith and Gregory Winter employed principles seen in evolution to develop proteins that tackle global chemical problems

Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland photographed in her lab.

The Nobels Notoriously Overlook Women Physicists. Donna Strickland's Win Puts That Disparity into the Spotlight

Nobel committee recognizes three physicists in total, all of whom contributed to advancing laser technology

A postage stamp printed in Norway showing an image of Alfred Nobel, circa 2001.

Should the Nobel Prizes Take a Year Off?

An award designed to go to those who benefit all humanity has a history of prejudice and controversy

Jocelyn Bell Burnell photographed in 2011

Decades After Being Passed Over for a Nobel, Jocelyn Bell Burnell Gets Her Due

Honored with a Special Breakthrough Prize, the astrophysicist says she'll use the winnings to fund scholarships to support today's outsiders in the field

Nervous about how southern television viewers would react, NBC executives closely monitored the filming of the kiss between Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner.

Fifty Years Ago, "Star Trek" Aired TV's First Interracial Kiss

For actress Nichelle Nichols, the first black woman to have a continuing co-starring role on TV, it was the beginning of a lifelong career in activism

A photograph of Yamei Kin in 1912

The Chinese-Born Doctor Who Brought Tofu to America

Yamei Kin was a scientific prodigy who promoted the Chinese art of living to U.S. audiences

Ad Astra per Astra by America Meredith

Meet the Little-Known Math Genius Who Helped America Reach the Stars

It’s time for Mary Golda Ross to be remembered as an aerospace pioneer

Sold: A Rare Copy of Ada Lovelace’s Groundbreaking Computer Algorithm

The manuscript includes Lovelace’s translation of an Italian paper, her copious notes and a formula that is often recognized as the first computer program

Using an artist's tools and the skills of a scientist, Tangerini makes “art in the service of science.”

The Botanical Artist Who Translates Plant Science Into Beautiful Art

The Smithsonian’s first and only botanical illustrator brings her subjects to life in all their scientific glory

Before she tackled tuberculosis, Sabin helped rethink the lymphatic system and wrote an acclaimed anatomy textbook.

Florence Sabin Pioneered Her Way in Medical Science, Then Made Sure Other Women Could Do the Same

A scientist and so much more, she helped lay the groundwork for curing tuberculosis but still found time to promote women doctors

Mission specialist Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly in space.

An Astronaut Reflects on Sally Ride's Legacy for Women in STEM

Ride encouraged girls to embrace science and engineering, helping democratize space for all. But more work is needed

In the early 20th century, pioneer paleontologist Annie Montague Alexander had to find socially acceptable fieldwork partners to avoid being accused of vague improprieties on her expeditions. She would go on to found the University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley.

The Many Ways Women Get Left Out of Paleontology

The hurdles that prevent female fossil hunters from rising at the same rates as their male peers are myriad—but they are all interconnected

No photos of Cole survive. Shown here is an anatomy lecture taught by pioneering female physician Elizabeth Blackwell at the Woman's Medical College of New York Infirmary, which she founded. Cole was the resident physician at the infirmary and later a sanitary visitor at Blackwell's Tenement House Service. Blackwell described Cole as “an intelligent young coloured physician [who] carried on this work with tact and care.”

The Woman Who Challenged the Idea that Black Communities Were Destined for Disease

A physician and activist, Rebecca J. Cole became a leading voice in medical social services

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