Living

The historical analogs of brilliant women

Updated 5:42 PM ET, Sat October 31, 2015
Share
PhysicistsPhysicists
1 of 10
Emmy Noether, right, is featured in the March 23, 2015 Google doodle in commemoration of what would be her 133rd birthday. The math wizard came up with an algebraic theorem that connected two fundamental laws of physics. Noether's Theory is seen by some to be as important as Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. In fact, Einstein considered Noether to be the most significant female mathematician.

Harvard professor Lisa Randall, left, researches theoretical particles and cosmology. By connecting the ideas about theoretical particles to the questions about the universe that physicists have yet to answer, she has developed new understanding about dark matter and extra dimensions in space.

Click through the gallery for more women pioneers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and their modern counterparts.
Nadine Rupp/Getty Images/Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Grace Murray Hopper, an American computer scientist and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (right), created Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL.) She also coined the term "debugging" in reference to fixing a computer.

Hopper paved the way for other females in computer science, including University of California at Berkeley Professor Katherine Yelick. She is the co-author of two books and more than 100 technical papers on parallel languages, compilers, algorithms, libraries, architecture, and storage. She led the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center from 2008 to 2012 -- a high-performance computing facility that helps scientists run tests. One of the computers in the facility is named after Hopper.
Roy Kaltschmidt/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Landov
The work of solar astronomer Mitzi Adams, left, has improved our understanding of the sun's turbulent behavior. Since joining NASA in 1988 at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, she has conducted research for a variety of solar missions. She carries on the tradition of discovery that Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) began in the late 1800s. Cannon was known as the "census taker in the sky," and developed a stellar classification system that became the standard of the Harvard Observatory. NASA/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Sara Seager, left, can measure outer space. An astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT, her research led, in part, to the first detection of light emitted by an exoplanet, a planet outside our solar system. She now focuses on characterizing all aspects of exoplanets, from theoretical models of their atmospheres to detecting the growth of a constellation. She continues the kind of work astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt did. Leavitt, right, discovered a relationship between the brightness and fluctuation of stars, as seen from Earth, that became the basis of astronomers' ability to measure the distance between Earth and other galaxies. MIT/womanastronomer.com
American physician and former NASA astronaut Mae Carol Jemison, left, became the first black woman to travel in space in 1992. As an astronaut, Jemison served as a liaison between the astronaut corps and launch operations at Kennedy Space Center, according to her biography. She also flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in the first joint mission with the Japanese Space Agency. Fellow astronaut Sally Ride, right, helped pave the way for Jemison's career: In 1983, she flew to space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, becoming the first American woman (and, at 32, the youngest American) to enter space. She flew on Challenger again in 1984 and later was the only person to serve on both panels that investigated the nation's space shuttle disasters in 1986 and 2003. Ride died in December 2012. NASA
Shafi Goldwasser, left, is one of the world's leading cryptology and complexity theory experts. A professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT as well as a professor of mathematical sciences for the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, her work has allowed secure information to be sent over the Internet. Ada Byron Lovelace, right, helped make Goldwasser's research possible by conceiving the first algorithm that could be processed by a machine. Lovelace is largely seen as the world's first computer programmer. MIT/Getty Images
Nuclear chemist Darleane Hoffman, left, specializes in heavy elements like plutonium. She was part of a team that focused on confirming the discovery of Seaborgium, element 106. Her research has revealed new aspects of fission and atomic processes, and she was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1997. The discoveries of Marie Curie (1867-1934) were similarly focused: Her observations of radiation suggested a relationship between radioactivity and the heavy elements of the periodic table. Curie's painstaking research with her husband, Pierre, culminated in the isolation of two new, heavy elements -- polonium, which they named for Marie's homeland, and the naturally glowing radium. Courtesy Iowa State University/Hutton Archive/Getty Images
Meave Leakey, zoologist and long-time head of the Tigoni Primate Research Centre's Division of Paleontology, is part of the Leaky scientist dynasty in Kenya. Her family has been responsible for groundbreaking work in the discovery of early human fossils and the concept of human evolution. Leakey carries on the grand tradition of Mary Anning, who has been called "the greatest fossilist the world ever knew." She grew up in Great Britain's Lyme Regis, a shoreline full of Jurassic fossils. Anning and her family found the first ichthyosaur fossil specimen and Anning is credited with finding the first plesiosaurus, the first pterodactylus macronyx in Britain and the squaloraja fish fossil. ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images
Wings Women of Discovery award winner Alexandra Morton knows more about orca and dolphin migration and communication than just about anyone else in the world. She helped create the first photo catalog of dolphins. She now fights to protect wild salmon populations from the impact of farm fishing. Her accomplishments are widely acknowledged, something that did not come as easily for Rosa Smith Eigenmann, right, the first female Ichthyologist "of any accomplishments," according to marine biologist Carl L. Hubbs. Eigenmann discovered the blind goby fish in San Diego as a young woman. She raised five children and managed to formally describe 150 species of fish with her husband. She ended her career after his death in 1927. Wings Worldquest/Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives
Biological researcher Elizabeth Blackburn was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering (along with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak) how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. Recognition of the importance of her discoveries was something that fellow scientist Rosalind Franklin did not achieve, even though there are many who believe that without Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick would not have formed their 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA. The British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. Alexander Klein/Getty Images/U.S. National Library of Medicine/NIH