Chien-Shiung Wu – Chinese-American physicist Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) focused her research predominantly on the techniques of experimental physics and radioactivity. She was known for her work on the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear weapon during World War II. Her nicknames included the "First Lady of Physics", "Chinese Marie Curie" and "Madame Wu".
Marie Curie – Polish-born French physicist Marie Curie (1867-1934) discovered polonium and radium. Her work led to the creation of X-rays -- a crucial component of modern-day medicine. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win this award in two categories: Physics and Chemistry.
Lise Meitner – Austrian physicist Lise Meitner (1878-1968) was a key member of a small group of scientists who discovered nuclear fission. Notably, one of her colleagues and her long-time collaborator, Otto Hahn, was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on nuclear fission. Meitner's exclusion has since been considered to be an error by the Nobel committee.
Hilde Mangold – German embryologist Hilde Mangold (1898-1924), along with Hans Spemann, discovered the embryonic organizer. Their work led to further understanding of the pattern of embryo differentiation in all amphibians and formed the foundation for the field of experimental embryology. Mangold died young, but in 1935 Spemann was awarded the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery.
Rachel Carson – American marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was also an author. After WWII, she focused on warning the public about the long-term effects of misusing pesticides. Her book Silent Spring and other works challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
Rita Levi-Montalcini – Italian neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012) was known for her work in neurobiology. Along with Stanley Cohen, she won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of nerve growth factor, a protein controlling growth and development. Prior to her death in 2012, she was the oldest living Nobel laureate and first ever to reach their 100th birthday.
Virginia Apgar – American-Armenian pioneer anaesthesiologist Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) developed the APGAR score (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration), a well-known system to evaluate the health of newborn babies. The Apgar score came into general use throughout the United States and has since been adopted by numerous other countries.
Gertrude B. Elion – U.S. biochemist Gertrude B. Elion (1918-1999) helped develop many drugs, including ones used to treat malaria, herpes, meningitis and leukemia. In 1988, Elion, together with George Hitchings and Sir James Black, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research and insight into the principles of drug treatments.
Jane C. Wright – American Jane C. Wright (1910-2013) was a physician who explored the relationship between patient and tissue culture response and developed chemotherapy as a viable treatment for cancer. She developed chemotherapy delivery methods by way of a catheter system and became the director of the Cancer Research Foundation at Harlem Hospital by age 33.
Rosalind Franklin – British chemist, crystallographer and biophysicist Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) was the first to hypothesize and show, through x-ray diffraction, the double helix structure of DNA. Her discovery laid the ground work for Francis Crick and James Watson's molecular model of DNA. The Nobel Prize can only be shared by three living scientists and so Franklin was barely acknowledged when it was awarded to Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins for the discovery of the double-helix in 1962.