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Samples of My Work in Physics and Closely Related Areas

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Wisdom and encouragement from women in physics from around the world.

A Skit on Being a Woman in Physics.

Statements of Excellence for Advanced Study in Physics

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Real Women in Physics

The Heroines of Physics

Physics isn’t known for its amazing array of women pioneers or leaders. But it should be! There are countless women who’ve made or are currently making a great contribution to this field. Check some of them out here.

Hedy Lamarr

The inventor and actress Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) got secret messages past the Nazis by co-inventing a frequency-hopping technique that helped pave the way for today´s wireless technologies! Her achievement was overshadowed by her other career as a Hollywood star for many years.

Lene Hau

Lene Hau is a Danish physicist that was born in 1959. She slowed a beam of light down to the pace of a fast bicycle ride in 1999. Then she stopped light completely in 2001. 

Grace Hopper

Hopper was a US Navy rear admiral and computer science pioneer. She worked as a programmer on a computer used towards the end of World War II. “Debugging” is a term she coined after she removed an actual moth from the circuitry of a Harvard Mark II computer in 1947.

Ursula Franklin

Ursula Franklin is a physicist and an activist (isn´t that cool?!). She earned a PhD in experimental physics in Berlin, and then moved to Canada and became the first female professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Engineering. She’s a feminist, a pacifist, a human rights advocate, and her work on nuclear blast fallout resulted in the end of atmospheric weapons testing.

Maria Goeppert-Mayer

Maria Goeppert-Mayer was a theoretical physicist, and spent most of her career working in unpaid positions. Nevertheless, she made huge contributions to both theoretical and chemical physics. Her biggest breakthrough was a math model for the structure of nuclear shells. She received a Nobel prize for the work.

Sophie Germain

Germain was a mathematician. A challenge was issued in Napoleonic France to explain why sand on small glass plates settled into patterns when vibration was applied. Germain was the only entrant, and it took her six years to work out why. But she eventually won with a pioneering paper on elasticity.

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner was a nuclear physicist who lived between 1878 and 1968. When she was a teenager, Austria restricted higher education for girls. But Meitner studied physics anyway, and became the first woman in German to hold a professorship in physics 25 years later. She helped discover nuclear fission, but wasn’t mentioned when Otto Hahn received the 1944 Nobel.

Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether was a mathematician. She lived between 1882 and 1935. Noether was a pioneer of abstract algebra, and a trailblazer who refused to accept that women should not study. When Germany’s Nazi government pushed her out of academia, she taught in secret and her theorem now underpins much of modern physics.

Fabiola Gianotti

Fabiola Gianotti is a particle physicist, and was the first female director general at CERN. She first studied art and philosophy, but physics won her heart, and she’s now a leading researcher at the biggest particle physics laboratory on the planet.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin studied at Cambridge University, but wasn’t awarded a degree because they didn’t grant degrees to women during that time. She went on to study for her PhD, and her thesis has been called “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.” It showed the sun is made mostly of hydrogen and helium.

Chien-Shiung Wu

Chien-Shiung Wu has been dubbed “The First Lady of Physics.” During her extraordinary career, she disproved a law of nature: the conservation of parity. She worked on the Manhattan Project, became the first female instructor at Princeton’s physics department, and was certainly the leading experimental physicist during her time.

We love reading stories about women physicists. But we also love reading the amazing stories that come to us so we can make them shine. Make you shine! So please let us know how we can help to succeed in your career.