Ok so… here I am deep in research for our up coming “hidden figures” feature which is out soon and almost every search ends up with a list of male examples. And when I ask someone to name people who have made huge discoveries in science, nature or have changed the path of our thinking, the immediate answers are Einstein, Charle Dickens, Issac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, (just name a few!) hardly anyone has a female name amongst their list?

Surely there are also strong, intelligent women out there who have changed the world? So, to clear things up a little and re-balence the scales, here is SSACHS top ten female role models:


When considering famous women scientists, no other name can match up to that of Marie Curie, the Polish-French scientist who became the first woman, and so far the only woman, to win Nobel Prize twice, and in two disciplines. School children in every country study about her achievements at one point or the other. Marie Curie was famous for her studies in radioactivity. She, along with her husband Pierre Curie, discovered the elements Polonium and Radium. She was awarded the physics Nobel in 1903, along with Pierre and Henry Becquerel, for studies in radioactivity. She went on to win a chemistry Nobel in 1911, for the discovery and isolation of Radium. Overexposure to radiation during her study led to her death from leukemia at the age of 66.


Shocking, controversial, and thought provoking both in her art and in her personal life. Frida’s many self portraits challenged what should be at the center of a work of art, and her style often challenged how an artist should depict it.


Born in Warsaw, Marie Curie became the first woman Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences at the Sorbonne (sometimes known as the University of Paris) in 1906. She had Masters Degrees in both physics and mathematical sciences and was the first woman to obtain a Doctor of Science degree. Madame Curie was also the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. The first was in Physics in 1903, with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel, for their study in spontaneous radiation. The second was in Chemistry in 1911 for her work in radioactivity.


Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, General Aung San and she became involved in politics and activism after being inspired by the non-violent campaigns of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and India’s Mahatma Gandhi. In 1988, during a time of major political upheaval in Myanmar, she organized rallies calling for peaceful democratic reform and free elections. However, the demonstrations were brutally suppressed by the army, who seized power in a 1988 coup, and Aung San Suu Kyi, as Chairperson of the opposition party, was placed under house arrest.

She is one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners having been under house arrest for almost 15 until her most recent release in 2010. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her commitment to peaceful resistance against military-ruled Myanmar, and for a life spent championing democracy and human rights.


This anthropologist is the foremost expert on Chimpanzees in the world. She studied under the famous scientist Louis Leaky as a chimpanzee researcher even before she finished graduation. She spent most of her life with chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, documenting their lifestyle. Her extensive studies shed new light on the lives of chimpanzees, making discoveries such as they are omnivorous and they can design and use tools. Goodall is also UN Messenger of Peace.


Dr. Mae Jemison, an American physician, is the first African-American female astronaut. Before her career at NASA, she worked in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand and served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia. She was accepted to NASA’s astronaut training program in 1987 and in 1992, as a science mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, she became the first African-American woman in space.


The brilliant Lise Meitner was the mother of nuclear power, but you’ve probably never heard of her!  Her research contributed greatly to the discovery of nuclear fission. It could even be said that even though she didn’t find all the pieces herself she most certainly put the puzzle together.


This lady faced countless obstacles, and overcame them one by one to become the first self-made black female worth over a billion dollars. She did it with raw grit and a brilliant mind.


Born in 1766, Germaine Stael or Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, better known as Madame de Stael, was a Paris-born French Political Activist and Social commentator. She was a prolific writer and penned many extraordinary works. She was the principal critic and opponent of Napoleon who banned her from France for her writings. She took recluse in Germany and later joined the Goethe Circle. Her IQ has been estimated between 180 and 185 by different tests and in general considered to be one of the greatest minds in the history.


Aptly named, this genius woman was once the highest scoring person on the Guinness IQ test, 190. She also took Stanford-Binet and the Mega Test and scored over 200 on those test as well. She is an American of Austrian, German and Czechoslovakian descent and is a descendant of Ernst Mach, a famous Physicist and Philosopher. Marilyn Vos Savant is a playwright, author, and magazine columnist. She solves puzzles and questions posted by the readers on the website Ask Marilyn, where she had solved many complicated and famous problems such as Monty-hall Problem and Two boys problem.

Sorry…. One more!!


Hypatia was the daughter of a famous mathematician Theon Alexandrinus. Born in C. 351-370, Hypatia was a Greek Astronomer, Philosopher and Mathematician in Egypt and later the Eastern Roman Empire. She has been linked to the invention of many instruments of the science of that era, such as hydrometer and astrolabe. She authored and co-authored multiple treatise and commentaries, such as A commentary on the 13-volume Arithmetica by Diophantus. Hypatia has been considered the greatest minds of the past, and it has been considered a great disappointment that her work has not been celebrated as much as his contemporary male scientists. Her IQ has been estimated through reconstructive model to be over 190!

Sorry…. One last lady (I cant stop!)


Born in 1952, Edith Stern is one of the brightest persons of the computer age. She was a child prodigy and could speak complete sentences and do calculations before the age of one. Like all other child prodigies, she claimed many graduate degrees before she turned eighteen. She holds more than 128 US patents to her name. Her work has been considered extremely vital in the case of real-time computing. She has received multiple awards including a lifetime achievement award in the field of Engineering. She has scored about 200 and even more than that on multiple IQ tests

Written by Alaw Beil

Alaw Beil is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over L.A. with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic , he joined our team since one year!

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