5. Gertrude Elion (1918-1998)
Gertrude Belle Elion shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 for discoveries regarding drug treatment. She was an American pharmacologist who developed AZT, an antiretroviral drug used for the treatment of AIDS, with Dr. George H Hitchings. During her four decade-long partnership with Hitchings, she also developed drugs for treatment of malaria, leukemia and herpes.
4. Irene Joliot-Curie (1897-1956)
Daughter of the famous Marie Curie, Irene Joliot Curie also was a renowned scientist herself. She followed her parents’ footsteps and conducted studies in radioactivity. She won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for the finding of artificial radioactivity. She, along with her husband Frederic, also turned boron into radioactive nitrogen as well as aluminum into phosphorus and magnesium into silicon.
3. Lise Meitner (1878-1968)
A genius in nuclear physics, Lise Meitner was born in Austria. She studied under great scientists like Ludwig Boltzmann and Max Planck, and worked with Otto Hahn to discover the element Protactinium. She was involved in researches that would result in the discovery of nuclear fission and subsequent invention of atom bomb, though she was unaware of the darker side of her studies. When the Nazis rose to power Meitner had to flee to Sweden. Even though she was denied a Nobel Prize, she was honored by the scientific world by naming an element after her – Meitnerium.
2. Jane Goodall (1934)
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.
1. Marie Curie (1867-1934)
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.