Women in science: scientists who made history

Monday 11 March, 2024
2 mins read


Mazatlán.- Throughout history, women have made great progress at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, but the gender gap increases as they advance in their careers and, above all, their incorporation into science has not been easy.

According to UNESCO figures worldwide, it is estimated that, although women represent 33 percent of all researchers, only 12 percent of members of scientific academies are women.

In honor of them and the upcoming commemoration of International Women’s Day, we leave you a list of the most outstanding women in the scientific field.

Caroline Herschel (1750 – 1848)

Caroline discovered science thanks to her brother William, who was the personal astronomer to the King of England. While working as William’s assistant, Caroline became a brilliant astronomer who discovered new nebulae and star clusters. Caroline was the first woman to discover a comet, the first woman whose work was published by the Royal Society, and the first British woman to earn a salary for doing scientific work.

Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852)

She is considered the first computer programmer in history and the person who started the computer system we know today. Ada Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage, a British mathematician and scientist. Together they worked on the calculator called the analytical engine. Among Ada’s notes on this machine was found the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. The United States Department of Defense named a programming language “Ada” in her honor.

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

Marie Curie was one of the pioneering women scientists in the study of radiation. Her research in this field led her to discover two elements, radium and polonium. She was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, specifically in Physics, in 1903. Eight years later, in 1911, she received a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, thus becoming the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes in different categories. Her eldest daughter, Irène Curie-Joliot, also dedicated her life to science and, like her mother, she won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her research.

Helia Bravo, María Elena Caso and Matilde Montoya.

Women in science: Achievements in México

In México, throughout its history, there have been a large number of women who have made important contributions to the scientific field, but, above all, who have promoted and laid the foundations for equity in this field. In order to recognize the key role they have played, we will mention some of them, in a list that is undoubtedly limited given their obvious contribution, but also because there is a lack of much research on the matter.

Matilde Montoya

She was the first Mexican doctor. Born in México City on March 14, 1859, at the age of 24 she requested to enroll in the National School of Medicine. Based on a decree issued by President Porfirio Díaz to have her professional examination carried out, on August 24, 1887 she received her degree as a midwife. She died in 1938 after more than half a century of opening the doors of medicine to other women.

Helia Bravo Hollis

The first qualified biologist. At the age of 17 she enrolled in the National Preparatory School. In 1927 she became the first certified biologist in our country, and in 1929, the year of University Autonomy, they asked her to form the herbarium and study Mexican cacti. The Desert Garden within the UNAM Botanical Garden is named after her. In 2000, the Biosphere Reserve was created in Metztitlán, Hidalgo, largely thanks to her work in that area.

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María Elena Caso and her systematic study of starfish

She was born in México City in 1915. She studied at the UNAM Faculty of Sciences, where she obtained the degree of Master in Biological Sciences. In 1961, she presented the most comprehensive research up to that time on echinoderms (starfish). She co-founded the Hydrobiology Laboratory, and from there the Department of Marine Sciences and Limnology was created in 1967.

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Source: Rosina Grave from Punto MX on 2024-03-06 16:24:52

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