STEM Girls: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who has been credited with one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the 20th century. She had a tough time at college, being the only woman in a class of 49 men. She said in an interview in the Belfast Telegraph, “…that when a female walked into a lecture theatre all the guys stamped and whistled and called and banged the desk.” As a PhD student she played a key role in the discovery of the first pulsars. Pulsars are the signals released from rapidly spinning neutron stars. Neutron stars are collapsed stars that are too small to...

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STEM Girls: Peggy Whitson

This year Peggy Whitson made history in three different ways. First she became the oldest woman to fly into space. Second, she became the first woman to command the International Space Center twice. And third, she broke the record for the amount of time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut. Peggy earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Iowa Wesleyan College. She then earned her doctorate degree in biochemistry from Rice University. After spending time there as a Postdoctoral fellow, she began working at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Peggy held a variety of...

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The ENIAC Girls who revolutionised computer programming

The women codebreakers of Bletchley Park are not the only women to have been largely forgotten in our history. Towards the end of the Second World War, just across the ocean, the ENIAC programme was launched. The aim was to build a computer that could perform a set of complicated math calculations in the matter of seconds. Those called upon to programme this machine were six incredible women from different cities and backgrounds across America. Yet, their efforts went unacknowledged when the massive new machine was unveiled to the public by the US Army on 15th February 1946. The names of...

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STEM Girls: South African School Girls

May 2017 will see South Africa will launch the first private satellite into space from Africa. The fact that a group of school girls are responsible is even more historic. Cape Peninsula University of Technology are responsible for this historic feat. They are trying to encourage more women to enter the field of STEM and so satellite engineers from the university have trained the group of 14 students. The payloads that the girls have designed and built that will scan Africa’s surface. It will gather information on agriculture and also on food security. The aim is to establish as well...

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STEM Girls: Margaret Guo

In October, Margaret Guo was named the NCAA Woman of the Year. The award was in recognition of her accomplishments not only in the swimming pool but for her academic work as well. She is the first MIT student to win this award. Margaret graduated with dual degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and biological engineering. While working on her degrees she also competed on the school’s swimming team. Her events were the 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay. Working on dual degrees and competing in athletics was a challenge for...

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STEM Girls: Stephanie Wilson

A few weeks ago we featured the first African-American woman in space – Mae Jemison. It is often the case that the person who is first to achieve something is the person who gets all the plaudits and the second person becomes a footnote in history. In the case of the second African-American woman to travel into space this is a shame, as Stephanie Wilson has had an incredible career. Stephanie was born in Boston and her education was always focused on science. One of her assignments while in school was to interview a person who had an interesting career. Her choice was an astronomer. While at...

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