28 Female Scientists Who Changed The World

If you’ll ask a random person to think of a scientist, likely they’ll think of a dude in a white lab coat.

Sure, most people are familiar with Marie Curie and perhaps Rosalind Franklin, but if you ask a sample of ten people to name just five more women scientists, they will likely draw a blank.

Yet Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, and many other male scientists are household names.

Throughout history, women have been involved in developing mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and really – any and every field of science.

Women have overcome many obstacles to do this – they’ve taught themselves at home late at night after their children or younger siblings went to bed. They were denied formal education.

They had to endure sexism, and their contributions were minimized and ignored. To this day, many of these brilliant women aren’t mentioned in schools.

We’re here to recognize these brilliant female scientists’ efforts and contributions, who refused to accept the barriers placed before them.

Jane Goodall (1934-)

Jane Goodall is literally a women who changed the world: she changed the way we think about intelligence.

Today she is considered the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees, with a career spanning over 60 years of stugying them.

In her 20s, she had an amazing idea: studying chimpanzees in the wild, in their natural habitat, and not in the lab or in a zoo.

She went to study them in Gombe, Tanzania.

Instead of using numbers to distinguish the different chimpanzees, as was common at the time, she gave them names.

She observed and reported different personalities among them and behaviors such as hugging, kissing, and ticking, and tool using – behaviors that were thought to be unique to humans.

Her work changed the way we view animals and intelligence today.

She is also a lifelong champion for animal rights’ and conservation.

To learn more about this amazing woman, you can read her book about her time in Gombe, My Life With The Chimpanzees.  

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

Marie Curie is one of the most important female scientists in history. She was a French chemist and physicist who discovered radioactivity and pioneered research into radiation.

Her work led to the development of treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Curie was also the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and she remains the only woman to have won two Nobel Prizes.

Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867.

She studied physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne in Paris, and she eventually became a professor there.

In 1898, she and her husband Pierre discovered the element radium. They also developed new ways to study radioactivity, which led to their discovery of polonium and radium.

Curie’s work helped to revolutionize medicine, and she is responsible for saving countless lives.

She died in 1934 of leukemia, which was likely caused by her exposure to radiation. Her legacy continues to inspire scientists and others today.

Marie Curie was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, and is the only person to have won two Nobel Prizes in different sciences.

She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris.

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, mainly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

She was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm intended to be processed by such a machine.

As a result, she is sometimes described as the world’s first computer programmer.

Lovelace was born Ada Gordon in London, into a noble and well-connected family.

Her mother, Lady Byron, separated from her famous husband Lord Byron when Ada was eight years old, and took charge of her education.

Lady Byron was determined that her daughter would not end up like her father, and instilled in Ada a love of mathematics and logic.

Ada met Charles Babbage in 1833, when she was just 17 years old.

Babbage was working on his Analytical Engine, a machine that could perform any calculation that could be done by hand.

Lovelace was fascinated by the machine, and began to work with Babbage on its development.

In 1842, Ada published a description of the Analytical Engine in an article called “Notes on Mr. Babbage’s Analytical Engine”.

In this article, she also included a method for using the machine to calculate Bernoulli numbers.

This was the first example of a program that could be run on a computer.

Ada continued to work with Babbage on the Analytical Engine until her untimely death in 1852, at the age of just 36.

However, her work was not forgotten, and she is now recognized as one of the most important figures in the history of computing.

June Almeida (1930-2007)

She dropped out of school at age 16, but through her job at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, June Almedia became a leading virologist and earned a Doctor of Science based on her research there.

She identified the first human coronavirus with techniques that she pioneered, using antibodies to visualize viruses through electron microscopy.

Read her full story here

June Almeida with microscope

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)

Hedy Lamarr, inventor and actress, was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, on November 9, 1914.

As a young woman, she became an international film star, appearing in such popular movies as Algiers (1938), Boom Town (1940), and Samson and Delilah (1949).

In addition to her successful film career, Lamarr was also an inventive mind, filing for a patent in 1941 for a “Secret Communication System” that used frequency-hopping signals to prevent enemies from intercepting and jamming radio-controlled torpedoes.

The U.S. Navy implemented Lamarr’s design during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and her invention forms the basis for modern wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and WiFi.

Lamarr’s early life was marked by both privilege and tragedy.

The daughter of wealthy Jewish parents, she enjoyed a privileged upbringing in Vienna.

However, her idyllic childhood came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of World War I.

Lamarr’s father lost his fortune in the war, and the family was forced to move to a modest apartment.

Despite their reduced circumstances, Lamarr’s parents encouraged her to pursue her interests in art and science.

Lamarr’s interest in science led her to invent the “Secret Communication System.”

Inspired by a conversation she overhead between two military officers during World War II, Lamarr realized that radio-controlled torpedoes could be jammed by enemy forces.

To prevent this, she designed a system in which the signal would “hop” from frequency to frequency, making it impossible for the enemy to track and jam the signal.

The U.S. Navy patented Lamarr’s invention in 1942, and it was used during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lamarr’s later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial difficulties. Her third husband, oil tycoon Howard Hughes, squandered her fortune, and she was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1965.

Lamarr also struggled with mental illness and addiction, and she died in 2000 at the age of 86.

Lamarr’s work laid the foundation for modern wireless communications.

Hedy Lamar

Read her full story here

Mary Anning (1799-1847)

Mary Anning’s childhood hobby of walking along the beach and collecting interesting finds turned into a later career as a paleontologist and fossil hunter.

Like many women scientists of her time, she was self-taught and could not fully participate in the scientific community.

She was denied entry to the Geological Society of London and did not receive full credit for many of her discoveries and contributions.

Her fossil discoveries could not be ignored forever: among them, she was the first to correctly identified ichthyosaur skeleton and the first two nearly complete plesiosaur skeletons.

Pioneer fossil collector of Lyme Regis, Dorset. Oil painting by an unknown artist, before 1842. Golden Cap is visible in the background. Held at the Natural History Museum, London.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

Margaret Mead was an American Cultural Anthropologist whose findings and writings influenced the 1960s sexual revolution.

Her book, Coming of Age in Samoa, which was published in 1928, followed teenagers’ sexual lives in Samoa and suggested that culture and upbringing influenced psycho-sexual development.

The book was an important milestone in the nature vs. nurture debate and sparked controversy and discussion for years following.

Esther Pohl (1869-1967)

Esther Pohl was an American physician and public health pioneer who was also the first woman appointed to direct a department of health in a major U.S city (Portland, Oregon).

Her leadership prevented an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in Portland.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell (born 1943)

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a British astrophysicist who, as a graduate student in the 1960s, discovered the first radio pulsars.

The discovery was made while she was working with her thesis advisor Antony Hewish and fellow students at the University of Cambridge.

It was a groundbreaking moment in astrophysics, providing strong evidence for the existence of neutron stars, and earning Bell Burnell, Hewish, and Martin Ryle the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Despite her groundbreaking discovery, Bell Burnell was not included in the Nobel Prize citation, a fact that caused significant controversy at the time.

Many felt that she had been unfairly excluded, especially given her youth and relative inexperience compared to her male colleagues.

In recent years, Bell Burnell has been outspoken about the lack of diversity in science, and she has been a vocal advocate for women and minorities in the field.

She is currently a visiting professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

Fortunately, she received recognition in 2018, when she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

She used the money to set up a scholarship fund to help women, refugees, and minorities become physics researchers.

Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994)

Dorothy Hodgkin was a British chemist who made important contributions to the field of structural biology.

She is best known for her work on the structure of biomolecules, particularly proteins. Her work helped to determine the structures of many important biological molecules, including insulin and vitamin B12.

In 1964, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on the structure of proteins.

Hodgkin was born in Egypt in 1910 to British parents. She attended Somerville College, Oxford, where she studied chemistry. After graduating, she worked at the University of Cambridge, where she began her research on the structures of biomolecules.

In 1937, she married Thomas Hodgkin, a British physician. The couple had three children.

During World War II, Hodgkin worked on the development of penicillin.

After the war, she returned to her research on biomolecules.

In the 1950s, she began to use X-ray crystallography to determine the structures of proteins.

This work led to her discovery of the structure of insulin in 1953. She also determined the structures of other important biomolecules, including vitamin B12 and cholesterol.

Hodgkin was elected to the Royal Society in 1947 and received numerous other honors throughout her career.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, she received the Copley Medal and the Order of Merit.

She was also famously Margert Thatcher’s thesis supervisor.

She died in 1994.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

Carson was born on May 27, 1907, in Springdale, Pennsylvania.

She graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women in 1929 and went on to study at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts.

She received a master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.

Carson began her career as a biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, where she wrote radio scripts and articles about marine life for an educational series called “Romance Under the Waters.”

She also produced pamphlets and films about wildlife conservation.

In 1952, Carson published her first book, The Sea Around Us, which became a bestseller and won the National Book Award.

Her second book, The Edge of the Sea, was published in 1955.

In 1957-1958, Carson wrote Silent Spring, a book that exposed the harmful effects of pesticide use on the environment. The book was controversial, but it helped to raise public awareness of environmental issues and spurred changes in government policy.

Carson died of cancer on April 14, 1964, at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Carson’s work continues to inspire people around the world who are working to protect the environment.

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)

Rosalind Franklin was a British scientist who contributed significantly to the understanding of DNA.

She is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA, which led to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

Franklin was born in 1920 in London, England.

She studied physics at the University of Cambridge and later worked as a research scientist at the British Coal Utilisation Research Association.

In 1951, she began working at King’s College London, where she carried out her landmark studies on DNA.

Franklin’s work on DNA was fundamental to the discovery of the double helix structure of the molecule.

Her X-ray diffraction images of DNA showed the molecule to be a helical structure, and her work helped to elucidate its overall shape.

Franklin died in 1958 at the age of 37, before the full significance of her work on DNA was realized.

When James Watson and Francis Crick received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the shape of DNA – she was famously omitted from their recognition.

Vera Rubin

Vera Rubin was an American astronomer who pioneered work on the rotation rates of galaxies.

She showed that most galaxies rotate too quickly to be held together by the force of gravity acting alone, and proposed that an invisible form of matter known as dark matter must make up the bulk of a galaxy’s mass.

Her work helped to establish the standard model of cosmology, which is the current scientific consensus on the structure and evolution of the universe.

Rubin’s career spanned more than six decades, during which she made many important contributions to astronomy.

She was a passionate advocate for the advancement of women in science, and mentored several young astronomers throughout her career.

Rubin died in 2016 at the age of 88.

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton was an American computer scientist and systems engineer.

She is best known for her leading role in the development of software for the Apollo space program at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory.

Hamilton’s team wrote the code that would ultimately be responsible for landing men on the Moon.

The code, which was created using paper punch cards and a room-sized mainframe computer, was described by Hamilton as “a set of dominoes.”

If one domino fell, the entire system could come crashing down.

Hamilton and her team worked tirelessly to ensure that the code was error-free.

In the end, their efforts paid off; the Apollo 11 mission was a success, and Hamilton is credited with playing a vital role in making it possible.

Today, Hamilton is considered one of the most important figures in the history of computing.

She is an inspiration to women who aspire to enter the field, and her work has had a lasting impact on the way that software is designed and engineered.

Sally Ride (1951-2012)

Sally Ride was an American astronaut, physicist, and engineer.

She was the first American woman to fly in space, and she is considered one of the most influential women in the field of science and technology.

Ride received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, and she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013 .

Sally Ride was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California.

She began her studies at Stanford University, where she earned degrees in physics and English.

Ride then went on to receive a master’s degree and a PhD in physics from Stanford.

Ride joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1978, and she was selected to be a member of the first space shuttle crew.

She made her first flight into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.

Ride continued to fly on the Challenger and Discovery space shuttles, and she also served as a mission specialist on the International Space Station.

Ride retired from NASA in 1987, but she remained active in the field of science and technology.

She served as a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and she also founded her own company, Sally Ride Science.

Ride passed away on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61.

Sally Ride was an incredible woman who made history in the field of space exploration.

Lise Meitner (1878-1968)

Lise Meitner was born in 1878 in Vienna, Austria. She was a gifted student and went on to study physics at the University of Vienna, where she became the second woman to obtain a PhD in physics from that institution. Meitner’s early research was in radioactivity and she made important contributions to our understanding of beta decay.

In 1907, Meitner began working with Otto Hahn, who would go on to be her lifelong collaborator. Together, they made groundbreaking discoveries about nuclear fission.

In 1938, Meitner and Hahn published a paper proposing that nuclear fission could explain the release of energy observed during an experiment.

However, it was not until 1939 that Meitner and Hahn published a paper describing the experiment that confirmed their theory of nuclear fission.

This discovery was crucial to the development of nuclear weapons during World War II.

Meitner was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1945, but she did not receive the award, that Otto Hahn was award solely.

It is widely believed that she was snubbed because she was a woman and because she had fled Nazi Germany.

Meitner continued to work on nuclear physics until her retirement in 1960.

She died in 1968 at the age of 89.

Read her full story here

Gertrude Elion (1918-1999)

Like many other female scientists, Gertrude Elion initially struggled to find research jobs that would take her seriously, despite her focus and dedication.

She persevered, and her work in biochemistry and pharmacology led to the development of the AIDS drug AZT, as well as awarding her the Nobel peace prize (along with George H. Hitchings and Sir James Black).

Helen B. Taussig (1898-1986)

Partially deaf due to an ear infection in childhood, Helen Taussig became a cardiologist who used her fingers instead of a stethoscope to measure heartbeats in her clients. She pioneered pediatric cardiology and became the first woman to serve as head of the American Heart Association.

Her biggest legacy is developing the Blalock-Taussig shunt to deliver oxygen from the lungs to the heart of “blue babies.

Read her full story here

helen taussig

Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012)

Rita Levi-Montalcin was an Italian chemist and a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry.

She discovered the element radium and developed several techniques for isolating it.

Her work helped pave the way for the use of radioactive isotopes in medicine.

Rita Levi-Montalcin was born on July 18, 1901, in Turin, Italy. She graduated from the University of Turin with a degree in chemistry in 1922.

After working in a number of industrial laboratories, she began her academic career at the University of Genoa in 1926.

In 1934, Levi-Montalcin discovered the element radium while working on a project to isolate it from pitchblende, an ore of uranium.

She developed a new method for separating radium from other elements, which was significantly more efficient than previous methods.

Levi-Montalcin’s discovery made it possible to produce radium on a much larger scale, and it soon found a number of applications in medicine.

Radioactive isotopes of radium were used to treat cancer, and radium-based treatments became a standard part of cancer care.

Levi-Montalcin’s work in radioactivity and radiochemistry earned her international acclaim, and she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938.

She died on December 5, 1951, in Milan, Italy.

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997)

Chien-Shiung Wu (May 31, 1912 – February 16, 1997) was a Chinese American experimental physicist who made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics.

Her parents were poor farmers who had to sell their land to pay for her education.

She eventually became a professor at Princeton University and Columbia University.

Wu’s research on the decay of the muon helped disprove the law of conservation of parity, a fundamental principle of physics.

Her work also contributed to the development of the nuclear bomb.

Wu was born in Liuhe County, Jiangsu Province, China.

Her father, Wu Zhong-Yi, taught at National Central University (now Nanjing University). Wu’s mother, Fang Lao-Er (方老二), was a housewife.

She had four siblings: two brothers and two sisters.

Wu Zhong-Yi died when Wu was only six years old.

Her mother then sold the family’s land to pay for her education.

Wu started school at the age of seven.

In 1929, Wu enrolled in National Central University (now Nanjing University) to study physics.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1932 and a master’s degree in 1934.

In 1936, Wu went to the United States to study at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her Ph.D. in 1940.

After graduation, Wu taught at Smith College and Princeton University.

In 1944, she joined the Manhattan Project, a top-secret government effort to develop the atomic bomb.

Wu’s most important contribution to physics came in 1956, when she proved that the law of conservation of parity is not always correct.

This discovery helped scientists understand the nature of subatomic particles.

Wu’s work also contributed to the development of the nuclear bomb.

In the early 1960s, she helped design a more efficient way to produce plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons.

During her career, Wu received many awards and honors. In 1958, she was named Woman of the Year by the magazine Life.

In 1975, she became the first woman to receive the National Medal of Science, America’s highest scientific honor.

Wu died of a stroke in 1997. She was 84 years old.

She is another example of a female scientist being overlooked by the Nobel Committee.

Chien-Shiung Wu conducted the Wu Experiment, which showed that parity is not conserved, and led to her colleagues receiving the Nobel Prize in 1957.

While she was mentioned in their acceptance speech, she wasn’t officially recognized for her role until she was awarded the Wolf Prize in 1978.

She also made significant contributions to the atom bomb’s development through her work in the Manhattan Project.

Grace Hopper (1906-1992)

One of the most significant figures in the history of computing is Grace Hopper.

A trailblazer in the field, her work helped shape the development of some of the most important technologies we use today.

Hopper was born in 1906 in New York City. She studied mathematics and physics at Vassar College, and went on to earn her master’s degree in mathematics from Yale University.

After graduation, she became a teacher, but soon realized that her true passion was in working with computers.

In 1943, Hopper joined the United States Naval Reserve and was assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University.

There, she worked on the Mark I computer, a massive machine that filled an entire room and used vacuum tubes for data storage.

The Mark I was one of the first computers ever built, and Hopper’s work on the project was instrumental in its development.

She also helped write the programming language that would be used to operate the machine.

This language, known as COBOL, is still in use today.

After the war, Hopper returned to teaching, but her work with computers continued.

In 1959, she helped develop the first computer language compiler, which allowed programmers to write code in a more natural language instead of the machine’s own code.

This was a major breakthrough in the field of computing, and it is still used in many programming languages today.

Hopper retired from the Navy in 1986, but her work in the field of computing was far from over.

In 1991, she was awarded the National Medal of Technology, and in 1997, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Grace Hopper’s contributions to the field of computing are legion.

She was a true pioneer, and her work has helped shape the development of some of the most important technologies we use today.

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN (covered).

Valentina Tereshkova (1937-)

Valentina Tereshkova was a Russian cosmonaut and the first woman to fly in space.

She completed 48 orbits of the Earth over the course of three days in 1963.

Following her historic flight, Tereshkova remained an active proponent of space exploration and served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet from 1965-1971.

In later years, she worked as a supervisor at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and as a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

Valentina Tereshkova was born in the village of Maslennikovo in central Russia on March 6, 1937.

Her father was a tractor driver and her mother was a factory worker.

As a child, she was interested in skydiving and often dreamed of becoming a pilot.

In 1961, Tereshkova married fellow cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev. The couple had one daughter, Yelena, who would later become a cosmonaut herself.

Tereshkova was selected as a cosmonaut in 1962, after impressing Soviet officials with her skydiving experience.

On June 16, 1963, she launched into space aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft.

During her time in orbit, Tereshkova completed 48 orbits of the Earth and logged more than 71 hours in space.

She also became the first person to transmit a television signal from space.

Following her return to Earth, Tereshkova remained an active proponent of space exploration.

In 1965, she was elected as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union. She served in this role until 1971.

In later years, Tereshkova worked as a supervisor at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. She also served as a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

Tereshkova died on May 8, 2021, at the age of 85.

Emmy Noether (1882-1935)

A German mathematician, Emmy Noether worked without pay for years and lectured under her colleague’s name, as women were not allowed to receive a salary back then.

Then Albert Einstein Albert Einstein became her spokesman and she was permitted a small salary.

She proved two theorems that were basic for both general relativity and elementary particle physics, as well as doing foundational work in algebra.

Emmy Noether is one of the most important female scientists in history.

She was born in Germany in 1882 and died in 1935.

Noether’s Theorem is one of the most important theorems in mathematics and physics. It states that every differentiable symmetry of a physical system has an associated conservation law.

Noether’s Theorem is used in many different areas of physics, including quantum mechanics and general relativity.

Emmy Noether was a pioneer in the field of algebra, and she made many important contributions to mathematics and physics.

She is an inspiration to all women who want to pursue careers in science and mathematics.

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992)

Barbara McClintock was a pioneering geneticist who discovered mobile genetic elements, now known as transposons.

Her work helped to revolutionize our understanding of genetics.

Barbara McClintock was an American scientist who was born in 1902.

She is best known for her work on genetics and chromosome behavior, for which she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983, at age 81.

McClintock’s work helped to revolutionize our understanding of how genes are regulated within cells.

She discovered that genes can move around within chromosomes, a phenomenon known as “transposition.” This finding overturned the then-prevailing view that genes were static and unchanging.

McClintock’s work was initially met with skepticism by the scientific community, but she persevered and ultimately received wide recognition for her groundbreaking discoveries.

She is an inspiration to all women scientists, and her work has helped to shape the field of genetics as we know it today.

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison is an American engineer, physician and former NASA astronaut.

She became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she was a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.

Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. She received her BA in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1977 and her MD from Cornell University Medical College in 1981.

She completed her post-doctoral training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1983.

Jemison joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1987 and was selected to be a mission specialist on STS-47, a cooperative Spacelab mission between the United States and Japan, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on September 12, 1992.

During the eight-day mission, Jemison and her six crewmates orbited the Earth 176 times and conducted experiments in space science and medicine.

Jemison left NASA in 1993 to found The Jemison Group, a technology research company that develops projects in sustainable development, biotechnology and advanced engineering.

She is also a professor at Cornell University and a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2002, Jemison was inducted into the National Astronaut Hall of Fame.

She has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1993) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016).

Esther Duflo (1972-)

Esther Duflo is a French development economist and the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Duflo is a co-founder and codirector of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, which uses randomized evaluations to answer questions about poverty.

She is also a founding member and editor-in-chief of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

In 2009, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her innovative work in development economics.

In 2019, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for her pioneering work in experimental economics and poverty.

Duflo’s research focuses on microeconomic issues in developing countries, including household behavior, education, health, technology adoption, financial decisions, environmental protection incentives, and policy evaluation.

She has worked extensively on designing and evaluating interventions to improve access to health care and education, to promote technology adoption and agricultural productivity, and to fight corruption.

Duflo is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, given to the American economist under 40 who has made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge, and the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.

In 2020, she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

In her 2020 book Good Economics for Hard Times, co-written with Abhijit Banerjee, Duflo argues that economists need to rethink their approach to economic policy in the face of new challenges such as populism, inequality, and climate change.

Duflo was born in Paris, France, on October 25, 1972.

She received a B.A. in economics from the École normale supérieure in 1994 and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1999.

Duflo is married to Abhijit Banerjee, with whom she co-authored Poor Economics. The couple have two children.

Jennifer Doudna

Jennifer Doudna is an American biochemist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

She is known for her work on CRISPR, a tool for genome editing.

Doudna has been awarded many prestigious prizes for her work, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Doudna was born in Washington, D.C. in 1964.

She received her BA from Pomona College in 1986 and her PhD from Harvard University in 1989.

After spending a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado, she joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1990.

Doudna’s work has been focused on understanding RNA function and developing tools for genome engineering.

In 2012, she and her colleagues published a paper describing how CRISPR could be used for genome editing.

This work has led to a revolution in the field of genetics, as CRISPR-based techniques have become widely used for both basic research and medical applications.

Doudna has been recognized with many prestigious awards for her work, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which she shared with Emmanuelle Charpentier in 2020.

She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to her scientific work, Doudna is also an active advocate for responsible use of CRISPR and other genome-editing technologies. She has spoken out against their use for human enhancement and other ethically controversial purposes. Doudna is committed to ensuring that these powerful tools are used responsibly and for the benefit of all humanity.

Carolyn R. Bertozzi

Carolyn R. Bertozzi is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, where she also serves as the faculty director of the Bio-X program and codirects the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.

Her research focuses on glycoscience, chemical biology, and cell surface engineering.

She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, and has received numerous awards for her work, including the Welch Award in Chemistry, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and the Japan Prize.

In 2022, Bertozzi was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Bertozzi earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

Bertozzi’s research focuses on the development of chemical tools for probing and manipulating biological systems.

In particular, she is interested in understanding the role that carbohydrates play in cell-cell interactions and signal transduction.

She has also developed novel methods for functionalizing surfaces with biomolecules, which have applications in tissue engineering and biosensing.

She famousely credits her inspiration for her breakthrough idea on cell sugars and protein from the M&M candies.

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