Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science! This day was created to celebrate the amazing contributions women and girls make to science every single day.

From early uses of herbs and plants for healing and medicines, to the discovery of the elements of radium and polonium, women and girls have always been scientific pioneers. However for much of history, women have had to fight for the right to be taken seriously as scientists and getting a proper scientific education was reserved for a very small minority of women. As such, their contributions to the field of science are often unknown or closely tied to that of a male relative or husband.

Luckily, in the 21st century, we are seeing many incredible girls pursuing their dreams of being scientists and solving issues in our increasingly complex world. I wanted to take this day to spotlight a few scientific discoveries and inventions that our awesome 21st century girls have made:

  1. 18-year-old Keiana Cavé from New Orleans began researching what happens to oil that is left on the ocean’s surface, after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, at age 15. She turned her work into two scientific papers and two patents, inventing new methods of detecting toxins and producing molecules which were better at dispersing oil. She also co-founded startup Mare a research initiative dedicated to developing solutions to large-scale problems. In recognition of her work, Keiana was named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
  2. Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai of India created a water filtration system using corn cobs and began testing her ideas when she was 11 years old. Lalita wanted to provide farmers with a low-cost way to get clean water and her corn-cob filter removed 80% of contaminants. Srisai’s invention won Scientific American’s Community Impact Award at the Google Science Fair.
  3. At 15, Hannah Herbst from Florida was inspired by her Ethiopian pen pal to create the Beacon (Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy). Hannah calculated that by scaling up, the Beacon could charge three car batteries simultaneously in an hour, but the energy could also be used to power water purification technologies or be used in hospitals. The invention won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

I hope that some of the incredible scientific discoveries girls are making across the world have inspired you to see how you can change the world through science. After all, it all starts with an idea…

Tia Shah
Contributing Writer
Girl Museum Inc

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