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Old 06-15-2015, 09:18 PM   #89
The future is unwritten
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 61,337

Fair enough, they are all famous enough to have a lot written about them, but a quick WIKI check gives a rough sketch...

Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) was an American astronomer who, in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet".
She won a gold medal prize for her discovery which was presented to her by King Frederick VI of Denmark - this was remarkable for a woman. On the medal was inscribed "Non Frustra Signorum Obitus Speculamur et Ortus" in Latin (taken from Georgics by Virgil (Book I, line 257) (English: “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising of the stars”). Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer.

Emmy Noether we talked about before.

Dame (Susan) Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, PRSE FRAS (born 15 July 1943) is a Northern Irish astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars while studying and advised by her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle, while Bell Burnell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyse the pulsars.
The paper announcing the discovery of pulsars had five authors. Hewish's name was listed first, Bell's second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with Martin Ryle, without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient. Many prominent astronomers expressed outrage at this omission, including Sir Fred Hoyle.

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova; IPA: (born 6 March 1937) is the first woman to have flown in space, having been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. In order to join the Cosmonaut Corps, Tereshkova was only honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force and thus she also became the first civilian to fly in space.
Before her recruitment as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur skydiver. After the dissolution of the first group of female cosmonauts in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices. She remained politically active following the collapse of the Soviet Union and is still regarded as a hero in post-Soviet Russia.

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin (May 10, 1900 – December 7, 1979) was a British–American astronomer and astrophysicist who, in 1925, proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium.
According to G. Kass-Simon and Patricia Farnes, Payne's career marked a turning point at Harvard College Observatory. Under the direction of Harlow Shapley and Dr E. J. Sheridan (whom Payne-Gaposchkin described as a mentor), the observatory had already offered more opportunities in astronomy to women than did other institutions, and notable achievements had been made earlier in the century by Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, Annie Jump Cannon, and Henrietta Swan Leavitt. However, with Payne-Gaposchkin's Ph.D., women entered the 'mainstream'.

The trail she blazed into the largely male-dominated scientific community was an inspiration to many. For example, she became a role model for noted astrophysicist Joan Feynman. Feynman's mother and grandmother had dissuaded her from pursuing science, since they believed women were not physically capable of understanding scientific concepts. But Feynman was later inspired by Payne-Gaposchkin when she came across some of her work in an astronomy textbook. Seeing Payne-Gaposhkin's research published in this way convinced Feynman that she could, in fact, follow her scientific passions.

Lise Meitner (7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner was part of the Hahn-Meitner-Strassmann-team that worked on "transuranium-elements" since 1935, which led to the radiochemical discovery of the nuclear fission of uranium and thorium in December 1938, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944. Meitner is often mentioned as one of the most glaring examples of women's scientific achievement overlooked by the Nobel committee.
A 1997 Physics Today study concluded that Meitner's omission was "a rare instance in which personal negative opinions apparently led to the exclusion of a deserving scientist" from the Nobel. Element 109, meitnerium, is named in her honour.

Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) was a German British astronomer and the sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel with whom she worked throughout both of their careers. Her most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets and in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name.
She was the first woman to be paid for her contribution to science, to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia presented her with a Gold Medal for Science, on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846).

Rita Levi-Montalcini; 22 April 1909 – 30 December 2012) was an Italian Nobel Laureate honored for her work in neurobiology. She was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). From 2001 until her death, she also served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life.
Rita Levi-Montalcini had been the oldest living Nobel laureate and was the first ever to reach a 100th birthday. On 22 April 2009, she was feted with a 100th birthday party at Rome's city hall.

Seems to me most of these women got screwed over for recognition. But they were lucky to make the big time, by being related to or friends with someone influential in the scientific community, or occasional shit luck. For the vast majority with neither, think of the brains and ability that's been wasted.
Everything is interesting... look closer.
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