Her’s Day Thursday

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Since yesterday was International Women’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the awesome ways women have influenced the world! Here are some amazing women who invented some extraordinary things!

Stephanie Kwolek

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Kwolek, a chemist, discovered and invented the materials used to make Kevlar bulletproof vests!

 

Florence Parpart

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We ALL owe Florence Parpart a HUGE thank you! She’s the inventor of the refrigerator (aka, The Real Happiest Place on Earth)!

 

Josephine Cochrane

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Josephine Cochrane is an A+ in book. Why? She is the inventor of the dishwasher! Saving us all (and by all I mean ALL–not just ladies) from the horror that is washing dishes by hand!

 

Marie Van Brittan Brown

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Marie was a nurse who worked odd hours and frequently found herself at home alone during the night. She collaborated with her husband and invented the home security system!

 

Tabitha Babbitt

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Tabitha Babbitt lived in a Shaker community in Massachusetts which relied heavily on the forestry business. She observed that the men exerted a lot of energy but using the two-men pull saws. Because of this, she invented the circular saw!

 

Have you ever heard of any of these inventors? Know of any others? Share in the comments below!

 

Her’s Day Thursday

 

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During the Oscars this past Sunday, GE debuted an awesome new commercial. Didn’t see it? No worries! I’ve got it right here:

 

I. LOVE. THIS.

(Also, the irony that this commercial was played during an awards show honoring celebrities was not lost on me)

I wish great women like Millie Dresselhaus were held to the same esteem as celebrities. And Millie deserves it! She was the first female professor at MIT (she taught physics and electrical engineering) and has won several awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science (among more than a dozen others)!

You can learn more about Millie here!

Her’s Day Thursday

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If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that I love to write about strong women. Especially strong women that have paved the way for future generations in lines of work that are predominantly male. So when I saw this trailer, I literally got goosebumps!

 

 

The film, Hidden Figures, tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson (a physicist, space scientist, and mathematician, respectively); three incredible women who used their brain power to help the Project Mercury mission (aka, the mission in which John Glenn orbited the Earth)  a success. Not only did these women break massive ground for women in STEM fields, but also for women of color.

(The film is actually an adaption of a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. Read more about it here!)

 

 

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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When I opened my internet this morning, I got a glimpse of today’s Google Doodle:

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Intrigued, I clicked on the picture and learned that today is Hertha Marks Ayrton’s 162nd birthday. Who is Hertha Marks Aytron? I’ll tell you!

 

Phoebe Sarah Hertha Ayrton was born on April 28, 1854 in Hampshire, England. The third of eight children, Hertha (as she was later called) helped her mother care for her siblings when her father unexpectedly died in 1861. Hertha’s aunts invited her to attend a school they ran in London, knowing that Hertha would need an education to gain employment, thus helping to support the family. Hertha joined her aunts’ school and quickly found she had an affinity for math and science.

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After completing her education, Hertha worked for a short time as a governess and then pursued a college degree at Girton College, Cambridge University. She passed all the necessary exams to earn a Bachelor’s of Science, however was awarded a “certificate” instead, as Cambridge did not give degrees to women at the time. Hertha went to the University of London, took the same exams, and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree.

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Hertha continued her work in mathematics, even getting published in Educational Times. In 1884, she patented a line-divider a drawing device for engineers that divides lines into any number of equal parts. This invention was not only used by engineers, but also artists and architects. This would not be her only invention. Until her death in 1923, Hertha registered twenty-six different patents!

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Hertha was a pioneer in the field of engineering. She was awarded the Hughes Medal for her works in engineering–and, as of last year, is only one of two women to ever win the award! In 2015, she was named by the Royal Society as one of the ten most influential British women in science.

 

Go, Hertha!

Her’s Day Thursday

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I’m super excited about today’s leading lady! I’ve been wanting to write about her for a while, but I also know she’s more well-known than others, and I’ve been wanting to highlight some ladies you may not have known about. But this woman is just too great NOT to write about! Today’s Her’s Day Thursday BAMF is: Marie Curie.

 

Marie Skłodowska (Curie) was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland to a family that had recently lost all of its fortune. Though many thought she and her siblings were doomed to live an impoverished life, Marie worked hard on her education. She attended a boarding school at the age of ten, having been taught by tutors until then. When she was older, she and her sister began their advanced studies at the Flying University—the only university that admitted female students in Warsaw.

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Marie and her sister travelled to Paris in 1891 and enrolled at the University of Paris. Marie studied during the day and tutored students at night as a way to keep herself financially afloat. She earned a degree in physics in 1893 and continued her education, earning a second degree in 1894.

 

Marie began research into the properties of different kinds of steels and needed a laboratory to work. A fellow physicist introduced her to Pierre Curie, another scientist who had access to a large laboratory. Pierre allowed Marie to conduct her research at his lab and the two soon fell in love and married.

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Marie went on to earn her PhD and became the first female professor at the University of Paris. Marie’s research continued as she discovered two elements: polonium and radium. She also coined the term “radioactivity” and found the methods for isolating radioactive isotopes.

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She was awarded not one but two Nobel Prizes; once for physics in 1903 (which she shared with her husband and another physicist) and again for chemistry in 1911.

 

During World War I, Marie saw the need for mobile x-ray units to help doctors and battlefield surgeons on the front lines. She was soon appointed director of the Red Cross Radiology Service and trained other women to serve as aides. She also produced needles containing radon to use for sterilizing infected tissue.

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During the war, Marie’s research went on the backburner. However, after the war, she continued her humanitarian work as well as her research. Marie Curie died in 1934, due to aplastic anemia—contracted from her exposure to radium over many, many years. The dangers of radium were unknown at the time, and Marie would carry test tubes of it in her pocket and leave it in her desk drawers. Even today some of Marie’s personal papers and belongings are considered dangerous because of the high levels of radioactivity.

 

Marie Curie was an innovator, a determined woman, and a scientist. Her legacy still lives on today.