15 Scientific Women With a Nobel Prize
With science still being considered a man’s profession in much of the world, we figured we’d enlighten those with a gender-bias on the issue with some incredible scientific women. Here, we’ve collected many of those who have won one of the most recognized and respected awards around. This is 15 Scientific Women With a Nobel Prize.
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6. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow
When the Second World War broke out, many, many men were sent off to war, but universities stayed open, which meant there was availability in the schools and scholarships available to those who wanted to attend. Rosalyn Yalow took advantage of the openings and got a scholarship to the University of Illinois, where she earned a Ph.D. in physics. When she was finished, she moved on and helped set up a radioisotope lab at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital. She, along with Solomon Berson, came up with a way to measure trace amounts of substances in liquids, called radioimmunoassay. RIA is used to measure levels of insulin, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, and is quite essential in testing for many diseases, including cancer. It can help measure drugs in a person’s bloodstream, and screen donated blood for impurities and disease, and it’s been quite successful, understandably. For her work, she won the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, alongside Andrew V. Shally and Roger Guillemin.
5. Dorothy Hodgkin
Hodgkin’s passion for science was fostered by her mother as a child, which led her to a women-only Oxford college, where she studied chemistry. She eventually made it to the University of Cambridge, where she earned a Ph.D., and it was there that she first fell in love with X-ray crystallography. She then moved back to Oxford, took a position as the first research chemistry fellow of the university, and studied the structure of proteins. There, in 1945, she confirmed penicillin’s structure, discovered insulin's structure, and mapped B12. It was the mapping of B12 that, in 1945, got her a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
4. Maria Goeppert-Mayer
Goeppert-Mayer chose to study physics and mathematics at the University of Gottingen, and, in 1930, earned her Doctorate in Philosophy. Her dissertation was on two-photon absorption, something that couldn’t be proven at the time, but was in 1961, so the two-photon absorption cross-sections unit was named the Goeppert-Mayer unit, or GM unit. Upon graduation, she moved to the United States and worked in the Physics department at Johns Hopkins University as an assistant. She also worked at Columbia University, then the Manhattan Project, then Los Alamos Laboratory, and then Argonne National Laboratory. Goeppert-Mayer came up with the nuclear shell model at Argonne, which earned her a Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Eugene Paul Wigner and J. Hans D. Jensen.
3. Gerty Cori
This biochemist moved with her husband, Carl, to America from Austria in 1922, and there they both worked in New York, at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Their focus was on carbohydrate metabolism, primarily because Gerty’s father had diabetes and asked her to try and find a cure for him. They worked together, and Gerty even got to have the first author credit on their papers, which suggested that Gerty did the majority of the research. She and Carl discovered glycogen metabolism, which is what they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for in 1947. She was the first-ever woman to win that specific prize, and she was also the first-ever American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science.
2. Irene Joliot-Curie
You may recognize this one’s last name. That’s because she’s the daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie, so it should come as no surprise that she was the second woman to win a Nobel Prize. She, and Jean Frederic Joliot-Curie, her husband, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for discovering “artificial radioactivity.” Both of the Joliot-Curies children, Pierre and Helene, are also successful scientists as well. Can you guess which family has the most Nobel Prizes with four in total given to five family members? That’s right, it’s the Curie’s, even without Pierre and Helene having Nobel Prizes… yet.