5 Influential Female Scientists Who Changed the World

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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Many important breakthroughs and discoveries in science were made by female scientists who left an indelible mark on scientific advancements. Below, we feature 5 influential female scientists whose groundbreaking work has revolutionized their respective fields, changed the world we live in and inspired generations of aspiring scientists.

5 Influential Female Scientists Who Changed the World

Marie Curie (1867-1934) – Pioneer of Radioactivity

Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist, who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and still to this day remains the only person to have received Nobel Prizes in 2 different scientific fields: physics and chemistry. Marie Curie’s research on radioactivity led to the discovery of two elements: polonium (named after Marie Curie’s homeland, Poland) and radium. Her work laid the foundation for the development of modern nuclear physics.

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) – DNA Structure Revealer

Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist and X-ray crystallographer, who played a major role in unraveling the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin produced crucial X-ray diffraction images that provided critical evidence for the double-helix structure of DNA. Although her contributions were not fully acknowledged during her lifetime, her research was instrumental in the discoveries made by James Watson and Francis Crick, who later received the Nobel Prize for their work on DNA.

Jane Goodall (1934 – Present) – Primatologist and Conservationist

Jane Goodall is a British primatologist, who is renowned for her extensive research on chimpanzees and her dedicated efforts in wildlife conservation. Her groundbreaking studies in the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania revolutionized our understanding of primate behavior and challenged traditional notions of human-animal relationships. Goodall’s work paved the way for the conservation of endangered species and highlighted the importance of protecting our natural world.

Jane Goodall Institute Homepage

Tu Youyou (1930 – Present) – Anti-Malaria Medication Pioneer

Tu Youyou is a Chinese pharmaceutical chemist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her groundbreaking research in developing artemisinin-based therapies for malaria treatment. Her work revolutionized the field of tropical medicine and significantly contributed to the global fight against this deadly disease.

Mae Jemison (1956 – Present) – Astronaut and Science Advocate

Mae Jemison is an American astronaut and physician, who became the first African-American woman to travel to space. Her achievements as a NASA astronaut inspired generations of young girls and minorities to pursue careers in STEM fields. After leaving NASA, Jemison continued to advocate for science education and diversity in the sciences, working tirelessly to promote the importance of scientific literacy and the inclusion of underrepresented groups in scientific pursuits.


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Science creates a platform where we can pave our way through the future due to research and technology. Working within science can lead to enhancing our day to day lives and broadening our horizons and creating an environment with high quality of life. Visit Whichcollege.ie if you are interested in studying Science in a third level occupation. Our database lists third level and PLC courses that are run by colleges across Ireland.

Steven Galvin

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