The list of famous women inventors is a long one, and to celebrate Women’s History Month, the Queens Tribune has put together a list of some of the top women inventors.
Marie Curie—who was born Maria Salomea Sklodowska—was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize. She received the honor for her work on radiation. Curie then received a second Nobel in chemistry for her discoveries on polonium and radium. She is the sole laureate to be recognized within two distinct scientific areas.
Annie Jump Cannon published her first catalogue of stellar spectra in 1901 and created the first classification of stars based on their temperatures. She was also a suffragist and was deaf for much of her career.
Hungarian-American MIT inventor Maria Telkes and American architect Eleanor Raymond created the Dover Sun House, which was the first home powered by solar energy, in 1947.
In 1919, Alice Parker invented a system of gas-powered central heating. While her particular design was never constructed, it marked the first time that an inventor had conceived of using natural gas to heat a home and, therefore, inspired future central heating systems.
Josephine Cochrane developed the first commercially successful dishwasher with mechanic George Butters in 1887.
In the 1940s, two workers at the New York Department of Health—Rachel Fuller Brown and Elizabeth Lee Haven—collaborated through the post on a series of tests in which they tried to eliminate the fungi from soil samples. The result was the drug Nyastin, which is used to combat fungal infections in humans and plants.
Mary Anderson invented the first functional windscreen wiper in 1903. That same year, Robert Douglass and John Apjohn also patented windscreen cleaning devices.
Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann discovered Earth’s inner core in 1936.
Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr—along with author George Antheil—developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers during World War II. Although the Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of the work are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology.
Gertrude Bell Elion won the Nobel Prize for her contribution to medicine—including the patenting of 45 different drugs, some of which include 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol) and 6-thioguanine, which are used to battle leukemia; the first immuno-suppressant; and medicines for malaria, cancer and meningitis. After retiring, she supervised the production of azidothymidine, which was the first AIDS treatment drug.