Women in Science

The Authorea Team

Despite the many barriers, women have made some of the most important contributions in science and continue to lead scientific efforts. Here are a few important woman in science that have changed the game and you need to know.

Katherine Johnson

Although she was hired as a "computer who wears skirts" (cue misogyny), Johnson was a mathematician at NASA. She was integral in making America's first human space flight happen. She's been honored with the first ever Arthur B.C. Walker Award for an "outstanding achievement in astronomy and education by an African American scientist".
If that wasn't enough, she was also the first African American woman to desegregate the graduate school at West Virginia University in 1938. At NASA, she and her other African American coworkers faced racism as part of the "colored computing pool", which was later disbanded. After finally being able to work as an aerospace technologist, she successfully calculated the trajectory for the first American in Space, Alan Shepard, as well as the launch window for the 1961 Mercury mission. She was so important that John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth, refused to fly unless Katherine verified the calculations. She also calculated the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon and even worked on the Space Shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite, and the mission to Mars.

Tu Youyou

This chemist discovered the treatment to malaria. She received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and is the first Chinese Nobel laureate in in that category. She's also the first female of the People's Republic of China to receive a Nobel prize.