Margaret Butler helps assemble the ORACLE computer with Oak Ridge National Laboratory engineer Rudolph Klein. In 1953, ORACLE was the world’s fastest computer. Designed at Argonne, it was constructed at Oak Ridge. Butler was a pioneering scientist who spent her career at the forefront of computer science and nuclear energy. Her spirit, drive, and analytical talents led to a lifetime of scientific contributions during an era when women were a rarity in a major scientific setting.
From 1916 to 1957, Harvard College astronomer Margaret Harwood (1885-1979) directed the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket Island, and ran its female-founded and female-run nonprofit science education institute; she spent summers on the island doing research and conducting classes.
In 1919, Mary Van Rensselaer Buell (1893-1969) became the first woman to earn Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. She carried on her extensive research on nutrition and physiological chemistry at University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, Washington University, and the University of Chicago.
WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) is pleased to present a sampling of images documenting women scientists and engineers from around the world, most of whom were pioneers in their respective fields, or were the first women to receive advanced graduate degrees in their discipline.
Mildred Adams Fenton (1899-1995) was an American scientist, who wrote or co-authored (with her husband) dozens of textbooks on geology and earth science, including "The Rock Book" (1940), a popular classic.
Mary Somerville (1780-1872) was an innovative and talented science communicator, with an extraordinary (and mostly self-taught) grasp of mathematics in an era when most women had no access to formal education. As a direct result of her work, calculus was introduced to the English-speaking scientific world, the idea of physics (as a single subject containing topics such as optics, thermodynamics and astronomy) was invented, and the term “scientist” was coined ...
Marie Curie (born Maria Skłodowska, also known as Marie Curie-Skłodowska; November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934) was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first twice-honored Nobel laureate (and still the only one in two different sciences) and the first female professor at the University of Paris. She was born in Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire, and lived there until she was 24.
Although she had majored in chemistry at Smith College, Jane Stafford (1899-1991) spent most of her career communicating about medicine. She worked at the American Medical Association before joining Science Service as medical editor and writer in 1927, where she covered some of the most important discoveries and people in medical research until leaving to work at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in 1956. Well-respected by her fellow journalists, she served as president of the National…