March is Women’s History Month. Women have made genius inventions throughout history. This post is about the life-changing inventions by badass women. They contributed to inventions ranging from computer programming to X-rays to telecommunications.
Radioactivity- Invented by Marie Curie, a Polish and naturalized-French scientist who researched on radioactivity. She discovered two elements, polonium, and radium. At the time of her discovery, people were unaware of the effects of radiation exposure and she worked unprotected in a converted shed next to the School of Physics and Chemistry of Ecole Normale Superieure where she taught. On top of working unprotected, the shed itself was poorly ventilated and not even waterproof. Her work did not end there. During World War 1, she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals. She is the only first person to win the Nobel Prize twice.
Computer programming- Invented by Ada Lovelace, who was an English mathematician and writer. She is also the only legitimate child of Lord Byron and Lady Byron. She published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.
Computer Language Compiler- Invented by Grace Hopper, an American computer scientist, and United States Navy rear admiral. She had always dreamed of a programming language written in English and invented the first computer compiler that the world has ever seen. She obtained her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University and was a professor of mathematics at Vassar College before she joined the Navy Reserve during WW2. She also popularized the phrase, “computer bugs”.
Recursive Function- Invented by Rozsa Peters, who was a Hungarian mathematician and logician. During the war, she was banned from teaching due to her Jewish origin and was also confined in a ghetto in Budapest. During the time, she wrote her book, “Playing with Infinity: Mathematical Explorations and Excursions. After the war ended, she was able to receive her first full-time teaching appointment at the Budapest Teachers’ Training College. By 1951, she published a key finding on “Recursive Functions” and continued to publish important papers on recursive theory throughout her life. By the mid-1950s, Peter applied recursive function theory to computers.
Telecommunications Technology- Invented by Shirley Ann Jackson, an American physicist. She was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree at MIT. She started working at the Theoretical Physics Researcher Department at Bell Laboratories in 1976 where she researched the optical and electronic properties of 2 dimensional and quasi-two-dimensional system. Her research eventually enabled others to invent the portable fax, touch-tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, caller ID, call waiting, and etc.
Without these badass women, our modern world would look very different. We might still be communicating via pigeons delivery and never be able to check out our bodies by X-Ray when we break our bones.