Women in physics

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This discusses women who have made an important contribution to the field of physics.

Nobel Laureates[edit]

Three women have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded annually since 1901 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Marie Curie was the first woman to receive the prize in 1903, along with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel - making her the only woman to be awarded two Nobel prizes (her second Nobel prize was in Chemistry in 1911).[4] Maria Goeppert Mayer became the second woman to win the prize in 1963, for her contributions to understanding the nuclear shell structure. Donna Strickland was the third winner of the prize in 2018, for her work in high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses beginning in the 1980's with Gérard Mourou.

Timeline of women in physics[edit]

  • 1668: After separating from her husband, French polymath Marguerite de la Sablière established a popular salon in Paris. Scientists and scholars from different countries visited the salon regularly to discuss ideas and share knowledge, and Sablière studied physics, astronomy and natural history with her guests.[5]
  • 1732: At the age of 20, Italian physicist Laura Bassi became the first female member of the Bologna Academy of Sciences. One month later, she publicly defended her academic theses and received a PhD. Bassi was awarded an honorary position as professor of physics at the University of Bologna. She was the first female physics professor in the world.[6]
  • 1751: 19-year-old Italian physicist Cristina Roccati received her PhD from the University of Bologna.[10]
  • 1897: American physicist Isabelle Stone became the first woman to receive a PhD in physics in the United States. She wrote her dissertation "On the Electrical Resistance of Thin Films" at the University of Chicago.[13][14]
  • 1909: Danish physicist Kristine Meyer became the first Danish woman to receive a doctorate degree in natural sciences. She wrote her dissertation on the topic of "the development of the temperature concept" within the history of physics.[15]
  • 1911: Polish-born physicist and chemist Marie Curie became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which she received "[for] the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element".[23][24][25] This made her the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes.[4][26]
  • 1964: Chien-Shiung Wu spoke at MIT about gender discrimination.ref>Gillispie, Charles Coulston (ed.). Dictionary of scientific biography. New York. ISBN 0684101149. OCLC 89822.</ref>
  • 1972: Willie Hobbs Moore became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics.
  • 1980: Nigerian geophysicist Deborah Ajakaiye became the first woman in any West African country to be appointed a full professor of physics.[54][55] Over the course of her scientific career, she became the first female Fellow elected to the Nigerian Academy of Science, and the first female dean of science in Nigeria.[56]
  • 1992: Mae Jemison became the first African American Women in space
  • 2000: Venezuelan astrophysicist Kathy Vivas presented her discovery of approximately 100 "new and very distant" RR Lyrae stars, providing insight into the structure and history of the Milky Way galaxy.[59]
  • 2011: Taiwanese-American astrophysicist Chung-Pei Ma led a team of scientists in discovering two of the largest black holes ever observed.[64]
  • 2018: British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell received the special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for her scientific achievements and “inspiring leadership”, worth $3 million. She donated the entirety of the prize money towards the creation of scholarships to assist women, underrepresented minorities and refugees who are pursuing the study of physics.[70]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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