230 attendees of the 2016 APS CUWiP at Georgia Tech were each given a female physicists, a birth year and a research field and were asked to find one interest fact about their physicist. Here are the results (last updated 2/01/16):
Deborah Berebichez (Mexico, ~1977, waves and acoustic signals)
She was the first Mexican Woman to graduate with a Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is known as “The Science Babe,” and began her television and radio appearances with a web video project that explains physics in an easy-to-understand language.
Harriet Brooks (Canada, 1876, nuclear physics)
She worked under Rutherford and Curie during her short term, leading to a faculty position at Barnard college, then after her marriage in 1907, resigned from physics as was mandatory at the time. Even though Harriet only researched physics, specifically nuclear, for less than 10 years, she is considered one of the greatest female nuclear physicists of all time, second only to Marie Curie.
Émilie du Châtelet (France, 1706, Newtonian Mechanics)
Her major work was a translation of Newtons’s Principia . She used the third Latin edition of Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, edited by H Pemberton under Newton’s supervision, which had been published in London in 1726. She began work on the translation in 1745 and the Royal Privilege for printing was granted to her in the following year. A part was published in 1756, seven years after her death, under the direction of Clairaut with a preface written by Voltaire. The complete work appeared in 1759 and was for many years the only translation of the Principia into French.
Helen T. Edwards (United States, 1936, Accelerator Physics)
She oversaw both the design and construction of the Tevatron, the high energy particle accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Dr. Edwards is still a guest scientist at Fermilab, and continues her work on particle accelerators in Germany.
Helen Thom Edwards (United States, 1936, Accelerator Physics)
She was the lead designer of the Tevatron, currently the world’s highest energy particle accelerator and also the first high-energy accelerator completely based on superconducting magnets.
Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming (Scotland, 1857, Astronomy)
She discovered a dark nebula, named Horsehead Nebula due to its odd shape, on the constellation Orion in 1888.
Katherine Freese (Germany, 1957, theoretical astrophysics)
She studies dark matter and dark energy and recently has proposed a new theoretical type of star, called a dark star, powered by dark matter annihilation rather than fusion! She has written a book “The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter” and has published many highly cited papers, has five articles with at least 500 citations each.
Aziz Fatima Hasnain (Pakistan, ????, Physics education)
She was a member on the organizing committee for a A Day With Women Physicists of Pakistan in 2014.
Lene Hau (Denmark, 1959, quantum physics)
In 2006, Lene Hau’s Harvard University research team successfully transferred a qubit (two-state quantum mechanical system such as a photon that acts as a binary informational bit) from a light wave to a matter wave and back again without losing its stored information by compressing it in a Bose-Einstein condensate. It was the first successful manipulation and storage of optical information. It is one of the most fundamental steps to creating a viable quantum computer and has applications in quantum cryptography.
Shirley Ann Jackson (United States, 1946, Particle Physics)
She is the current president of the Rennselaer Institute, and the second African American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics.
Renata Kallosh (Russia, 1943, theoretical physics)
She is a professor at Stanford. She is know for her contributions to string theory, particularly for being one of the four contributors to the first models of accelerated expansion of the universe in low energy supersymmetric string theory.
Margaret Kivelson (United States, 1928 Space and Planetary physics)
er research focused on Jupiter’s Galilean moons. She discovered the internal magnetic field of Ganymede and provided evidence for a sub-surface ocean on Europa.
Hélène Langevin-Joliot (France, 1927 nuclear physics)
She was educated at the IN2P3 (English: Institute of Nuclear Physics and Particles) at Orsay, a laboratory which was set up by her parents Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.
Cecile Labuda (United States, ~1977, Acoustics)
Her degrees span millenia!
Lan-Ying Lin (China, 1918, Solid-State)
She made the first mono-crystalline silicon and gallium arsenide in China
Margaret Eliza Maltby (United States, 1860, Electrolytic resistances and conductivity)
She was highly interest in introducing physics to non-physicists, resulting in her introducing the first course in physics of music.
Kirstine Meyer-Bjerrum (Denmark, 1861, Physics Education, Nuclear Physics)
Her interest in thermochemistry led her to investigate the historical development of ideas about heat and temperature, the subject of her doctoral dissertation. She published a number of articles and monographs on the work of Danish scientists, including the astronomer Ole Rømer and the physicist Hans C.Ørsted. Meyer-Bjerrum also wrote a book on radioactivity. In 1902 she cofounded a Danish physics journal, Fysik Tidsskrift, which she published and edited for many years.
Shobhana Narasimhan (India, ~1961, Computational Physics)
Her research examines how the lowering of dimensionality and reduction of size affect material properties.
Emmy Noether (Germany, 1882, Mathematical Physics)
Even after unjust treatment from University faculty and working unpaid for many years, Emmy Noether made many contributions to ring, group, and field theory, maintained a nontraditional way of teaching that made her students learn to think, and was called a “creative mathematical genius” by Albert Einstein.
Caroline Nolan (Atmospheric Physics)
She has a BS in Physics, a MS in Atmospheric Physics, and a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. As of now she’s a research scientist at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics since 2013.
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchking (UK, 1900, Astrophysics)
She became the first woman to head a department at Harvard.
Kathy Prestridge (United States, ?, Fluids)
She was featured on the cover of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics for her work at on turbulence at Los Alamos National Lab. She was also named one of Los Alamos’ “Women Who Inspire”.
Jennifer Ross (United States, ???, Biophysics)
She works at UMass Amherst studying microtubule cytoskeleton. She is very cool!
Sara Qaisar (Pakistan, ?, material physics)
She is the director of the Nano Science & Catalysis Department at the National Centre for Physics.
Qudsia Quraishi (United States, ?, Ultra Cold Atoms)
As a graduate student she was nominated and served for two years as the Lead Graduate Teacher for the physics department where she coordinated graduate teaching assistants and wrote extensive teaching manuals for the four introductory physics courses.
Annelia Sargent (Scotland, 1942, Astronomy)
She was nominated by Obama to serve a six-year term on the National Science Board
Mary Somerville (Scotland, 1780, Astronomy & Mathematical Physics)
She was a Scottish science writer in the late 1700s/ early 1800s. She was jointly the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1835. She wrote several scientific books influencing many physics including James Clerk Maxwell.
Valery Troitskaya (Russia, 1917, Geophysics)
She was the first woman to be elected President of the International Union of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy.
Hannelore Valencak (Austria, 1929, Metallurgy)
She studied physics in the 50s and then worked in metallurgy. She seemed to work in this field until she remarried after her first husband died. After this, she pursued a career in writing novels short stories and children’s stories until she died. She didn’t receive a great deal of praise for her writing career until after her death. She seems to not be very well known as a scientist in the English area of the Internet but more sources appeared in German so I assume in her homeland, Austria, she may be more celebrated as a scientist.
Leona Woods (United States, 1919, nuclear physics)
She was the only female member of Enrico Fermi’s team that built the first nuclear reactor, and she worked on the Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bomb during World War II. After the war she worked at the University of Chicago, Princeton, Brookhaven, NYU, UCLA and the RAND Corporation, and developed a method to use isotope ratios in tree rings to study ancient climates.