Well-known Women Engineers and Scientists from around the world

This page is not yet complete. It will take time to complete this page but it will be updated as often as possible. If there are specific people of interest not on this page, feel free to email Monique Frize concerning this.


Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Agnesi was born in 1718 in Milan. She was the daughter of a mathematics professor. She followed her father's footsteps and became the author of several books on philosophy and mathematics. In 1784 she published "Institucioni analitiche" in which she explains the new mathematical techniques she developed. Maria Agnesi died in 1799 at the age of 82.

Elda Emma Anderson

Elda Anderson was born in 1899 in Wisconsin. She graduated in Physics in 1924 and taught for many years in various establishments. She obtained her PhD in 1941 and worked at the Princeton University as a member of the atomic bomb project. In 1949 she became the chief of education of the Health Physics Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. She died in 1961 at eh age of 62.

Agnes Arber

Agnes Arber was born in London in 1879. She studied at the University College London and Newnham College. At the beginning of her career she was a research assistant to a plant anatomist. She continued her research in the anatomy of plants and in 1912 she wrote her first book, Herbals, their origin and Evolution. Later on in her career she also published many other books on various aspects of the botanicals. In 1946 she became the first woman botanist to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society. She completed 84 papers between 1902 and 1957 as contributions to comparative plant anatomy. Agnes Arbor died in 1960.

Angelique Arvanitaki

Angelique Arvanitaki was born in 1901. She was a French neurobiologist who helped develop the field of cellular neurophysiology by studying the giant nerve fibres of the squid. She died in 1983.

Winfred Ashby

Winfred Ashby was born in 1879. She is an English-born American immunologist who carried out vital work on red blood cells. She developed the Ashby technique which is used to determine survival rates of red blood cells in the human body. She died in 1975.

Charlotte Auerbach

Charlotte Auerbach was born in 1899. She was a German-British geneticist who was the first to discover chemical mutagenesis. She was awarded the Royal Society's Darwin Medal in 1976. She died in 1994.

Hertha Ayrton

Hertha Aryton was born in 1854 in Portsmouth. She was educated at the Girton College in Cambridge. She was an English Physicist who studied the motion of waters and formation of sand ripples. During her career she also worked on the behavior of the electric arc. She was a friend of Marie Curie. In 1906 she received the Society Hughes Medal.

Emily Barringer

Emily Barringer was born in New York and was influenced as a child by Mary Puttnam Jacobi. She went to Cornell University and later to the Women's Medical College of New York. She encountered a lot of difficulty obtaining appointments at hospitals even though her entrance exam marks were generally higher than the males who received appointments. Between 1903 and 1905 she was a pioneer ambulance surgeon in East Side New York. She died in 1961.

Rosemary Biggs

Rosemary Biggs was born in 1912 in London, England. She received her education from the University of Toronto where she obtained her PhD in Mycology. She later graduated in 1943 from the London School of Medicine for Women. Between 1967-1997 she was the Director of the Oxford Hemophilia Centre and an honorary consultant haematologist. She is jointly credited with describing a clotting disorder called 'Christmas disease'.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol in 1821. She graduated in Medicine in 1849 from the Geneva School in New York State. In 1851 she established a successful practice and founded the New York Infirmary. After 1868 she moved back to England where she founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She died in 1910.

Emily Blackwell

Emily Blackwell was born in Bristol in 1826. She was educated at Cleveland University. From 1869 to 1910 she ran the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children and was Dean and a Professor of Obstetric and Diseases of Women at the Women's Medical College attached to the Infirmary. She died in 1910.

Emma Lucy Braun

Emma Braun was born in 1889 in Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Masters degree in geology in 1912 and a PhD in Botany in 1914. She was Professor of Plant Ecology from 1946 to 1948. She contributed to the growing conservation movement, stressing natural habitats. She died in 1971.

Rachel Fuller Brown

Rachel Brown was born in 1898 in Springfield, Masschuesetts and educated at the University of Chicago. She began her career as a chemist at the New York Health Department where she made important studies of the causes of pneumonia and the bacteria involved. Working in collaboration with Elizabeth Hazen, she isolated the first antifungal antibiotic, nystatin. She was awarded the Pioneer Chemist award of the American Institute of Chemists in 1975. She died in 1980.

Annie Jump Cannon

Annie Cannon was born in Dover, Delaware in 1863. She was educated a the Wellesley College, and returned there 10 years after graduation as an assistant in the physics department. She went on to investigate the field of astronomy where she classified no fewer than 225, 000 stars brighter than a magnitude of 8.5, which is published in the 9 volumes of the Henry Draper Catalogue. Throughout her career she received many Honors such as Henry Draper Gold Medal of the US National Academy of Sciences. She died in 1941 and in 1994 was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame.

Mary Agnes Chase

Mary Chase was born in Iroquois County, Illinois in 1869. In 1903 due to interest in the field of Botany, she took a job with the US Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry and Exploration. She modernized and extended the national collection of grasses. Her work provided information about cereal and food crops which could be used to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally enhanced strains.

Gabrielle Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil Châtelet-Lomont

Gabrielle de Breteuil was born in Paris, France in 1706. After her marriage to the Comte du Châtelet-Lomont she began studying mathematics and the physical sciences. She worked with Voltaire and studied the nature of fire, light and heat. She connected the causes of heat and light and believed that both represented types of motion. She wrote Institutions de physique and Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu. She died in childbirth in 1749.

Gerty Theresa Rasnitz Cori

Gerty Cori was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1896. She trained in medicine at the German University in Prague. She later emigrated to the U.S. where she worked at various hospitals and universities as a professor of Biochemistry. Together with her husband, they made many advances in the knowledge of glycogen, the stored form of glucose. Gerty and Carl Cori shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Bernardo Houssay in 1947. She died in 1957.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. In 1893 she graduated from Sorbonne in Physics. She continued her studies later on in mathematics. As for her doctoral thesis topic she decided to study the phenomenon behind the radioactive properties of uranium. This led her to discover the radioactive properties of thorium. In 1898 along with her husband Pierre, she announced the discover of a new element polonium and later that year they announced the discovery of radium. In 1903 she received the first advanced scientific research degree awarded to a woman in France. It was in that same year that she shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with her husband and Becquerel. Marie became a Professor of Physics at Sorbonne, succeeding her husband in 1906. In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of radium and polonium. During WWI she developed x-radiography and than became the director of research at the newly established Radium Institute in Paris. She died in 1934 of leukemia due to over-exposure to radiation, since the effect were not known at the time.

Gladys Rowena Dick

Gladys Dick was born in Nebraska in 1881. After graduating from the University of Nebraska, she went on the John Hopkins School of Medicine where she graduated MD in 1907. In 1914, along with her husband George Dick, she became a member of the McCormick Memorial Institute for Infectious Diseases. Together they worked on advancements in scarlet fever and developed the 'Dick Test' to test for scarlet fever susceptibility.

Tilly Edinger

Tilly Edinger was born in Germany in 1897. She received her doctorate from the University of Frankfurt in 1921. In 1940 she emigrated to the USA and joined the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. She pioneered work in the field of palaeoneurology - the study of the brain and the nervous system. She died in 1967.

Minnie Joycelyn Elders

Joycelyn Elders was born n 1933 in Arkansas. She graduated MD form the University of Arkansas in 1960. She became a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas in 1974. In 1987 she was appointed Director for the Arkansas Department of Health and then became the first female Surgeon General in 1993.

Gertrude Belle Elion

Gertrude Elion was born in New York City in 1918. She was educated at hunter College and completed a Masters Degree at the University of New York. During WWII she joined the BurroughsWellcome in 1944 as a research associate of George Hitchings. Since 1983 has been Emeritus Scientist. Along with him she worked on drug development. They initialized compounds that inhibited DNA synthesis, hoping that these could prevent the growth of cancer cells. In the 1970's, they produced an anti-viral compound called acyclovir, which is active against the herpes virus. In 1988, they shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the Scottish pharmacist Sir James Black.

Gladys Anderson Emerson

Gladys Emerson was born in Caldwell, Kansas in 1903. She was a biochemist, and was the first to succeed in isolating vitamin E in its purest form. She also studied the role of vitamin B complex deficiencies in diseases such as arteriosclerosis. She also investigated the possible dietary causes of cancer. She was appointed Professor of Nutrition at the University of California, in Los Angeles, in 1956.

Alice Evans

Alice Evans was born in 1881. She graduated with a Masters degree in bacteriology from Cornell, in 1910. She conducted investigations in to the dangers of non-pasturized cows' milk, and asserted that cattle brucellosis and human Malta fever had a common origin rather than being two distinct diseases. Her achievement led her to receive several honors, including that of being the first woman President of the Society of American Bacteriologists (1928). She died in 1975.

Dame Honor Bridget Fell

Honor Fell was born in 1900, and completed her PhD in cell biology at the University of Edinburgh. She greatly advanced biochemical study through her investigations using the organ culture method. Later in her life, she investigated the pathogenesis of arthritis. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, and was made a D.B.E. in 1963. She died in 1986.

Margaret Clay Ferguson

Margaret Ferguson was born in 1863, in Orleans, New York. She studied chemistry and botany at Wellesley College. After graduating from Cornell University, and obtaining her doctorate, she returned to Wellesley, and became head of the department of botany. She focused her research on plant genetics, especially of Petunia, and she analyzed the inheritance of features such as petal color, flower pattern and pollen color. Her research contributed in the building of a major database of genetic information. As a result of her achievements, she received many honors and awards, including election as the first woman President of the Botanical Society of America in 1929. She died in 1951.

Amalia Fleming (Coutsouris)

Amalia Coutsouris was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul), in 1909. She studied medicine at Athens University, and worked at the Wright-Fleming Institute, doing research as a bacteriologist until 1967. She was involved in Greek politics. After 1973, she became an MP, a European member of parliament, leader Greek committee of Amnesty International, and a member of the European Human Rights Commission.

Lady Margaret Augusta Jennings Florey (Fremantle)

Margaret Fremantle was born in Swanbourne, Buckinhamshire, in 1904. She was studying English, but transferred to physiology to satisfy her desire to study medicine. She joined Florey's department of pathology at Oxford in 1936, and was a member of the team that demonstrated during World War II that penicillin was a potent antibiotic against pathogenic bacteria, but non-toxic to humans. From 1945 until 1972, she was a lecturer in Pathology at Oxford. She died in 1994.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was born in London, in 1920. After studying physical chemistry at Cambridge, she held a research post at the British Coal Utilization Research Association from 1942 to 1946. There, she helped establish carbon fibre technology. She became experienced in x-ray diffraction techniques at the Central Government Laboratory for Chemistry in Paris (1947-1950). In 1951, she returned to London to work on DNA at King's College. Her excellently produced x-ray diffraction pictures of DNA were published in an issue of Nature in 1953. Later, she joined a laboratory at Birkbbeck College, London, where she worked on tobacco mosaic virus. In 1962, she was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (jointly with Watson, Crick and Wilkins), but she died in 1958, due to cancer.

Charlotte Friend

Charlotte Friend was born in New York City in 1921. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, she graduated with a PhD, in 1950. She joined the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, and was associate professor of microbiology there until 1966, when she was appointed professor at the Mount Sinat School of Medicine. She discovered that a fatal leukemia could be induced in experimental animals by a virus, now known as Friend Leukemia Virus (FLV). Basically, she discovered that some viruses could produce cancer. She received many honors worldwide, and was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1976. She died in 1987.

Dame Frances Violet Gardner

Frances Gardner was born in 1913, and was educated at Oxford, then, at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in 1940. She had medical positions at both those schools. She was also a research fellow at Harvard University. In 1946, she became Consultant Physician at the Royal Free. She published many paper on various medical subjects, especially cardiovascular medicine. She first served as Dean of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, from 1962 to 1975, and then as its president in 1979. She served on numerous medical committees, including the General Medical Council, in 1971. She died in 1989.

Sophie Germain

Sophie Germain was born in Paris, in 1776. She was self-educated until the age of 18, then she studied notes from the newly established Ecole Polytechnique., where women were not admitted. She disguised herself as a male student, under the name of Le Blanc, and submitted a paper on analysis which impressed mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, that he became her personal tutor. She corresponded with mathematicians Andrien-Marie, and Carl Friedrich Gauss. She also gave a more generalized proof of the 'last theorem' (the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics). She also developed a mathematical explanation of the 'Chladni figure'. And, she wrote Recherches sur la theorie des surface elastiques was published in 1821, as well as philosophical works such as Pensees diverses.

Maria Goeppert-Mayer (Goeppert)

Maria Goeppert was born in Poland, in 1906. In 1930, she emigrated to the USA and taught at Johns Hopkins University, and from 1960 she held a chair at the University of California. One of her greatest accomplishments was the development of the shell model of the nucleus, and drew the analogy that a closed shell of electrons leads to stable atoms; for example, the noble gases. She shared the 1963 Nobel Prize for Physics with Eugene Wigner and Hans Jensen. She died in 1972.

Dame Helen Charlotte Isabella Gwynne-Vaughan

Helen Fraser was born in 1879. She was department head and later Professor of Botany at Birkbeck College (1909-17, 1921-39, and 1941-44). She became and authority on fungi. Her career was interrupted in both World Wars. In WWI she was organizer, and controller of the Women's Army Auxiliary Air Force in France (1917), and commandant of the Auxiliary (1918-19). She then created DBE. In WWII she was chief controller of the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service (1939-41). She died in 1967.

Alice Hamilton

Alice Hamilton was born in New York City, in 1869. She was educated at home, then studied at and graduated from the University of Michigan. She studied pathology and bacteriology in Europe and was appointed professor of Pathology at the Women's Medical College of North Western University in 1897. Much of her work was linked between medical practice and environmental concerns, particularly environment and disease. She served on state and national advisory committees on occupational disease. She became the first woman professor at Harvard in 1919, almost 30 years before Harvard accepted women medical students; and she published a textbook, Industrial Toxicology, in 1934. She died in 1970.

Jean (Emmeline) Hanson

Jean Hanson was born in Newhall, Derbyshire, in 1919. She conducted wartime research on wound healing. She completed a PhD and was working in the Medical Research Council's Biophysics Research Unit at King's College, London. During this time, she began studies on the ultra structure of skeletal muscle. She became Professor of Biology at the University of London in 1966, Fellow of the Royal Society the next year, and director of specialized Muscle Biophysics Research Unit in 1970. She died in 1973.

Ethel Harvey (Browne)

Ethel Brown was born in Baltimore, in 1965. She was an embryologist and cell biologist; and after completing her education, she worked part-time and as an independent research worker for most of her career. Her work in cytology (the study of cells), was internationally recognized and she was awarded many honors, including fellowships of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Sciences. She died in 1965.

Elizabeth Hazen

Elizabeth Hazen was born in Mississippi, in 1885. She was a chemist and bacteriologist. She worked at the Mycology Laboratory with Rachel Brown. Their work led to the discovery of nystatin (a wide-range antibiotic, which is used to treat books and art-works damaged by fungus and mold). Hazen receive many awards and honors for her work. She died in 1975.

Dorothy Mary Hodgkin (Crowfoot)

Dorothy Crowfoot was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1910. She studied chemistry at Somerville College, and became a Fellow and Tutor there in 1934. She became the first Royal Society Wolfson Research Professor at Oxford in 1960. She was introduced to the study of biologically interesting molecules, at Cambridge. She determined the structure of penicillin from 1942 to 1945. Also, from 1948 to 1956, she determined the structure of vitamin B12. She received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964, and in 1965 was admitted to the Order of Merit, as well as many other honors.


Hypatia was born in 370AD. She was a Greek philosopher, being the first recognized female astronomer and mathematician. She was the author of commentaries on mathematics and astronomy. She was murdered by a Christian mob in 415AD.

Elsie Maud Inglis

Elsie Inglis was born in India, in 1864. She was on of the first women medical student at Edinburgh, and began the second medical school for women at Edinburgh. She also founded a maternity hospital in Edinburgh entirely staffed by women. Also, in 1906, she founded the Scottish Women Suffragette Federation, which sent two women ambulance units to Serbia in 1915. In Serbia, she set up three military hospitals, which fell in Austrian hands, and was sent back to her country. But, in 1917, she returned to Russia with voluntary corps. She died in 1917.

Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake

Sophia Jex-Blake was born in Hastings, in 1840. She studied at Queen's College for Women in London, and began tutoring mathematics there from 1859 to 1861. In 1865, she studied medicine in New York, but was unable to continue her medical studies when she returned because English medical schools were closed to women. She fought her way to study at Edinburgh University. She conducted a public campaign in London, and opened the London School of Medicine for Women. Soon after, she founded a medical school in Edinburgh, and in 1894 women were finally allowed to graduate in medicine. She died in 1912.

Irene Joliot-Curie (Curie)

Irene Curie was born in Paris in 1897. Her mother, Marie Curie, educated her at home. She served as a radiographer in military hospitals during World War I. In 1921, she began conducting research at the Radium Institute in Paris, where her mother worked. From 1931, she conducted studies on radioactivity with her husband. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 for their production of a radioactive isotope of phosphorus. She died in 1956 from leukemia due to a great deal of exposure to radioactivity.

Isabella Helen Karle (Lugoski)

Isabella Lugoski was born in Detroit in 1921. She studied at the university of Michigan. At the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, she learned new techniques of studying electron diffraction which led her to study living structures by X-ray. Her many discoveries, including the chemical structure of enkephalin, have made her quite well known and honored by many scientific academies.

Sofya Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya

Sofya Kovalevskaya was born in 1850. She became well known throughout Europe as a mathematician. She found it difficult to obtain an academic post in Europe as a woman, but she finally obtained a lectureship at Stockholm, followed by a professorship in 1889. The work she well known for are on Abelian integrals, partial differential equations and the form of Saturn's rings. She was also a well known novelist. She died in 1891.