Women + Science  Women + Science 

Women + Science 

By Willa Zhang

Women + Science  Women + Science 

The Women in Science art print celebrates some of the pioneering female scientists who made amazing discoveries, broke down barriers, and paved the way for other women in STEM. 

Their contributions have given us the COVID-19 vaccine in record time, catalyzed a global environmental conservation movement, helped us understand mysteries of the ocean floor, launched astronauts into orbit, changed our fundamental understanding of animal behavior, and so much more. 

Learn more about four of these scientists below!

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, Ph.D.

Kizzmekia Corbett was already a rising star in the immunology community—then came the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past six years, she has served as the scientific lead of the Vaccine Research Center’s coronavirus team at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Years of research from her team helped to develop an mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 in record time. Now, millions of doses of that vaccine, developed in collaboration with Moderna, are being distributed across the United States and the world to save lives.  

Tu Youyou

A two-year battle with tuberculosis inspired Tu Youyou to study medicine and help others overcome infectious diseases. In 1969, she was appointed head of Mao Zedong’s Project 523 to find a cure for drug-resistant malaria. More than 240,000 compounds had already been unsuccessfully tested as potential drugs, but Tu was undeterred. She turned instead to ancient Chinese medical texts to search for clues in traditional medicine. The result was the discovery of artemisinin, a substance distilled from sweet wormwood. Use of artemisinin as an anti-malarial drug has now saved millions of lives around the world. For her pioneering work, Tu was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015. 

Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp began to find evidence that continents on Earth moved, but her conclusions were dismissed by her male colleagues as ‘girl talk.’ As a woman in the fields of geology and cartography in the 1940s, she faced sexist discrimination at all stages of her career. While working on mapping ocean ridges in the North Atlantic Ocean, she found strong evidence that molten material from the Earth's core was pushing up and creating new crust, forming rifts and causing continental drifts. It took almost a year for a male colleague to believe her findings—and then three years for him to publish her work and take credit. But Marie Tharp’s legacy lives on. After several decades of work, she produced the first scientific map of the ocean’s floor—a now iconic image.  



Agnodice is said to have been the world's first female physician, working as a midwife in Ancient Greece in a time when women were banned from practicing medicine. Though claims to her reality are disputed, legend has it that in the 4th century BCE, Agnodice was driven to study medicine due to the increasing number of women suffering and dying in childbirth. Rumors of a female physician spread, and she became highly in-demand to assist the women of Athens in childbirth. Whether or not Agnodice existed, her story has been invoked to bolster the case for women in medicine throughout history. She has been used as a powerful symbol for progressive health movements for women seeking to take back control of their bodies, and the lineage of women working in reproductive health and midwifery can be traced back to her. 


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