Did I really forget my last four famous female scientists?
I thought I had introduced them to you already.
But I am afraid with my sudden ICU and hospital journey I must have missed and twisted something!
But finally, here they are!
My last but – of course – not least four precious ladies.
Having started with my post of ‘10 quotes by famous female scientists’ I then introduced first Marie Curie, Lise Meitner and Gertrude Elion in the post ‘Introducing 10 famous female scientists: the first three!’ The series continued by introducing Mary Anning Jane Goodall and Rosalind Franklin in ‘Introducing 10 famous female scientists: Mary, Jane and Rosalind’.
Today I want to introduce:
Dian Fossey (1932 – 1985)
Dian Fossey was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of Mountain-Gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. It was her achievement that these Gorillas are now well understood, appreciated and protected. Fossey studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda. In her book ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ she combines her scientific study of the Mountain-Gorilla at the Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. Fossey was found mysteriously murdered in 1985; the case remains open.
Like mentioned in my previous post, Dian Fossey was one of Leakey’s Angels (also nicknamed ‘The Trimates’). Dr. Louis S. B. Leakey, a famous anthropologist and paleontologist from Cambridge University, UK, personally decided on three female researchers to study primates in Africa. It was Jane Goodall who studied chimpanzees, Dian Fossey who studied gorillas and Birutė Galdikas who studied orangutans.
Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909 – 2012)
Born into an Italian Jewish family Rita Levi-Montalcini lost her assistant position in the department of anatomy of the University of Turin in 1938 due to a law barring Jews from university positions. That’s why during World War two Levi-Montalcini bravely conducted experiments from a home laboratory, studying the growth of nerve fibers in chicken embryos.
Later she joined Washington University in St. Louis where she stayed for 40 year. In 1986 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine alongside with colleague Stanley Cohen for discovering the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). From 2001, at the age of 92, until her death at the age of 103, she served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for life. She had an identical twin sister who interestingly had a huge career in Arts.
Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)
Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist, conservationist and book author. She worked as an aquatic biologist in the US Bureau of Fisheries and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. In 1951 she wrote the bestseller ‘The Sea around us’ which was awarded with the US National Book Award. Her next book ‘The edge of the sea’ and a reissued version of her first book called ‘Under the sea wind’ were also bestsellers. This amazing sea trilogy explores and explains the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths.
Concerned about synthetic pesticides Carson wrote a book called ‘Silent Spring’ in 1962 which resulted in a nationwide ban if the pesticide DDT and an increased in environmental consciousness among the US people. It also inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Maria Mayer (1906 – 1972)
Maria Mayer was born as Maria Goeppert on June 28, 1906, in Kattowitz, Upper Silesia, now Poland. On her father’s side she was the seventh straight generation of university professors. In 1924 she enrolled at the University of Göttingen in Germany with the intention of becoming a mathematician. But soon she found herself more attracted to physics. This was the time when quantum mechanics was young and exciting.
She later moved to the USA and married Joseph Edward Mayer. In 1962 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for proposing the discovery of the nuclear shell structure of the atomic nucleus. She was the second female Nobel laureate in physics, after Marie Curie.
This is the last part of a series. Please check out the first parts as well: