Women in Science

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

Agnesi was an Italian mathematician, philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian.

The 18th-Century Lady Mathematician Who Loved Calculus and God

After writing a groundbreaking math textbook, Maria Agnesi quit math for good

Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine by Kadir Nelson (detail, above) is on view at the National Portrait Gallery through November 4, 2018.

Famed for “Immortal” Cells, Henrietta Lacks is Immortalized in Portraiture

Lacks's cells gave rise to medical miracles, but ethical questions of propriety and ownership continue to swirl

Elle Fanning as author Mary Shelley

Watch: The First Trailer for 'Mary Shelley' Explores the Many Inspirations for 'Frankenstein'

The biopic will follow Mary Wollstonecraft's scandalous teenage romance with the older Percy Bysshe Shelley and the events that shaped her most famous book

Awesome Con provided an opportunity for science fiction and real-life science to play off of one another. The Robot from Netflix's Lost in Space reboot (center) illustrates the former, while the NASA jacket of the con attendee on the right nods to the latter.

The Real Science Behind Your Favorite Nerd Culture at Awesome Con

Astrophysicists, vehicle technicians and biologists joined the party to bring cutting-edge research to fictional worlds

Marvin, a trailblazer in more ways than one, surveys the Antarctic terrain on her meteorite-hunting expedition of 1978-79.

The Rockstar Geologist Who Mapped the Minerals of the Cosmos

A professor told Ursula Marvin she should learn to cook. Instead she chased down meteorites in Antarctica

Curasub commissioner/owner Adriaan Schrier and lead DROP scientist Carole Baldwin aboard the custom-built submersible.

How a Team of Submersible-Bound Scientists Redefined Reef Ecosystems

In tropical Curaçao, Smithsonian researchers are constantly confronting the unknown

Ten Female Innovators to Watch In 2018

These inventors, startup founders and businesswomen have exciting things happening this year. Stay tuned!

For all their flaws, lab mice have become an invaluable research model for genetics, medicine, neuroscience and more. But few people know the story of the first standardized lab mice.

The History of Breeding Mice for Science Begins With a Woman in a Barn

Far more than a mouse fancier, Abbie Lathrop helped establish the standard mouse model and pioneered research into cancer inheritance

Can you spot Sheila?

How Smithsonian Helped Solve the Twitter Mystery of the Unknown Woman Scientist

Sheila Minor was a biological research technician who went on to a 35-year-long scientific career

An endocast revealing the brain of an Iguanodon, an herbivorous dinosaur of the early Cretaceous period. This was the first fossilized dinosaur brain found by modern scientists, announced in 2016.

The Woman Who Shaped the Study of Fossil Brains

By drawing out hidden connections, Tilly Edinger joined the fields of geology and neurology

Illustration made using an 1851 portrait of Mitchell by H. Dassell and a false-color image of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A by NASA.

Women Who Shaped Science

Smithsonian.com is sharing the stories of women scientists who also changed the world, but were written out of history.


Women Who Shaped History

Collecting the stories of women who forever changed the course of the American story

The Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial in Knoxville is a start to what should be a nationwide trend.

Why We Need to Start Building Monuments to Groundbreaking Women

The brilliant female codebreakers of WWII were forgotten to history, but would that have happened had they been recognized with the same fervor as men?

Many of the fascinating stories tied to women across history are preserved in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

This Museum Tour Is the Perfect Guide to Celebrating Women’s History in Style

From the National Portrait Gallery to the Air and Space Museum, here’s where to find the stories of wondrous women come March

Baber gathering fossils at Mazon Creek, Illinois, 1895, during the first field class at the University of Chicago to which women were admitted.

The Woman Who Transformed How We Teach Geography

By blending education and activism, Zonia Baber made geography a means of uniting—not conquering—the globe

Madame Pompadour, by Francois Boucher

Madame de Pompadour Was Far More Than a ‘Mistress’

Even though she was a keen politicker and influential patron, she’s been historically overlooked

A 2013 Romanian stamp features Cochran and her dishwasher.

This Time-Saving Patent Paved the Way for the Modern Dishwasher

Josephine Cochran just wanted to stop having broken dishes

Women dynamite workers at one of Alfred Nobel's factories in the 1880s.

The True Story of Mrs. Alford's Nitroglycerin Factory

Mary Alford remains the only woman known to own a dynamite and nitroglycerin factory

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