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WWW Women In Science

Did you know that the technology that operates your cell phone was designed by a silver screen goddess in the 1940's? Or, that the first computer programmer was actually the daughter of a racy 18th Century English poet? Actress Kate Mulgrew (internationally known for her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Voyager™ narrates these and other fascinating tales of women's historical contributions to science and technology. HER-STORY: THEN features 26 two-minute radio stories that trace the lives of women scientists and engineers from ancient Egypt to modern day Troy, New York.

Scroll down on this page to choose which story you would like to hear from the descriptions below or listen to all of them. Never listened online before? Click on the How To Listen Button above.

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SI LING-CHI (c. 2640 BCE). Empress of China who used her scientific abilities to invent silk over 5000 years ago.
MARIA THE JEWESS (fl. 1st. Cent. BCE/CE). This Alchemist used chemical engineering to invent a popular household tool still used in today's kitchens.
HYPATIA (370?-415 C.E.). Today's students can thank this 4th century mathematician for making geometry courses easier to understand.
EMILIE DU CHATELET (1706-1749). In a time and place where a woman's future depends on her courting abilities, what do you do with an ugly daughter? Educate her! She just might grow up to be a ground-breaking mathematician like Emilie du Chatelet.
CAROLINE HERSCHEL (1750-1848). This 18th Century Cinderella of science rose from a life of servitude to receive royal honors and worldwide acclaim as the first lady of astronomy.
SOPHIE GERMAIN (1776-1831). It's not unusual for parents and teenagers to argue over schoolwork, but this 18th century mathematician had to fight for her right to study. Her work in number theory helps keep the Eiffel Tower standing today.
JAMES BARRY/MIRANDA STUART (1795?-1865). This woman spent her life pretending to be a man so she could practice medicine and earned the highest rank a doctor could achieve in the British Army.
MARY SEACOLE (1805-1881). This 19th century Caribbean nurse overcame racial prejudice to serve in the Crimean war, where wounded soldiers dubbed her "The Mother of the Army".
ADA BYRON LOVELACE (1815-1852). When mom is the princess of parallelograms and dad is the century's raciest poet, how's a girl to calculate her future? Ada Byron Lovelace thought she could count on a computer but she was a woman ahead of her time.
MARIA MITCHELL (1818-1889). This great American scientist of the 19th Century not only followed her own star, she spent a lifetime opening doors so generations of women could follow theirs.
SOFIA KOVALEVSKAYA (1850-1891). This daughter of 19th Century Russian nobility reached great mathematical heights and today she's immortalized on the moon.
ALICE RICH NORTHROP (1864-1922). This botanist traveled the world finding specimens for museums, but her most precious collection was right here at home, the thousands of New York City School children she introduced to nature, both during and after her lifetime.
BEATRIX POTTER (1866-1943). This famous author of children's tales about cuddly bunnies spent her life studying fungus and algae and became one of the most influential naturalists of all time.
MARIE CURIE (1867-1934). When the family business is science, don't be surprised to find a few Nobel Prizes in the closet. This 19th century scientist won two, and her daughter another.
ELIZABETH FLEISCHMANN (1859?-1905). This bookkeeper was too poor to finish high school, but developed her own X-RAY equipment and became known as the finest radiographer in the world.
ALICE HAMILTON (1869-1970). This pioneer in industrial medicine was Harvard's first female professor and was honored as a prominent "man of science".
MILEVA MARIC EINSTEIN (1875-1948). She died alone and penniless, but some scholars say this unknown Serbian woman contributed to the Theory of Relativity.
LILLIAN MOLLER GILBRETH (1878-1972). Immortalized in the film, 'Cheaper By the Dozen', this industrial engineer and mother of twelve is known as the first lady of engineering.
LISE MEITNER (1878-1968). This brilliant physicist indirectly contributed to the creation of the world's first atomic bomb, but was not happy to see her work used in the service of death and destruction.
THE 'HARVARD COMPUTERS'- (late 1800s- early 1900s). Can your computer give birth, bake oatmeal cookies, or dance a mean Virginia Reel? The earliest 'Harvard computers' could.
RACHEL CARSON (1907-1964). This biologist and environmental crusader always wanted to be a writer, but a college biology class changed the course of her life, and some say, the course of our planet.
HEDY LAMARR (1914-2000). Starlet by day, inventor by night. Over 60 years ago, this Hollywood glamour queen patented a missile guidance system that keeps your cell phone working today.
MARY AMDUR (1922-1998). Her research helped "get the lead out" of gasoline, but this pioneer in toxicology sacrificed her own security to prove that what we can't see can hurt us.
SYLVIA EARLE (b. 1935). A decade after Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon, this oceanographer earned the title "her deepness" by descending 1250 feet, taking our deepest steps on the ocean floor.
RITA COLWELL (b. 1936). This microbiologist reduced cholera by half in Bangladesh and rose to head the National Science Foundation.
SHIRLEY ANN JACKSON (b. 1946). This Theoretical Physicist went from studying bees under her porch to heading the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, leaving a long list of 'firsts' in her wake.


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