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Top 5 Women in STEM Who Have Made an Impact on the World

Top 5 Women in STEM Who Have Made an Impact on the World

Our history is full of famous women in STEM who have left a lasting mark on the world. Let's learn about their contributions to modern medicine!

"Certain people discouraged me… that pushed me even more to persevere." – Francoise Barre

Check out these 5 women scientists who made an impact on the world through their work. 

For thousands of years, society has stopped women from reaching their full potential. This is why there are so few famous women in STEM, a field predominately led by men. But, there are a few notable exceptions in history.

marie curie

Marie Curie

A woman scientist that many have heard about is Marie Curie. And, it is no surprise, especially since she and her husband discovered polonium and radium. Throughout her life, she also found other world-altering discoveries about radioactivity. Thanks to all her hard work, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 with her husband and another scientist. She also won a Nobel Prize for chemistry on her own in 1911. Unfortunately, her passion ended up being her demise when she passed away from leukemia due to radiation in 1934.

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel eventually made her way to England with the help of her brother after living a rough childhood in Germany. From there, she would soon begin helping her brother not only build telescopes but discover nebulae and star clusters. In fact, Herschel was the first woman to discover a comet, the first to have her work published in the Royal Society, and the first British woman to be paid for her scientific work. By the end of her life, she increased the number of star clusters from 100 to 2,500.

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner

As a young educated Austrian Jewish woman in the early 1900s, Lise Meitner had difficulties joining prestigious labs and lectures. Instead, she would study and do experiments in basements. When Nazi Germany started took over, she escaped. Luckily, she was able to find sanctuary in Sweden. From there, Meitner discovered nuclear fission, which won her a Nobel Prize in 1944. After the war, she refused to return to Germany and spent the rest of her life in Sweden.

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock

While thinking outside of the box (and with a lot of experimentation), Barbara McClintock discovered that genes could move within and between chromosomes. What did she use as her main source of studying? Corn! Her theory was not accepted until the early 1980s when these jumping genes were found in microorganisms, insects, and even humans. McClintock was awarded the Lasker Prize in 1981 and a Nobel Prize in 1983.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin

While James Watson and Francis Crick are known for discovering the structure of DNA, Rosalind Franklin was the one who led the way. Discouraged to start a career in science by her family, Rosalind Franklin went against their wishes and gained a doctorate in physical chemistry. From there, she almost figured out the molecular structure of DNA while taking x-ray photos. However, another scientist showed these x-rays to Watson and Crick, who quickly published these findings in scientific journals before Franklin could.

Now that you know 5 famous women in STEM who made an impact on the world, it's your turn! It doesn't take major accomplishments and recognitions to make a difference. Get out there and show the world what women can do.


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