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Katherine Johnson: Meet the Woman Who Did the Calculations for the First Moon Landing

None of the other women had ever asked questions before, but by asking questions, Johnson began to stand out. She was told that women didn’t participate in the briefings or attend meetings; she asked if there were a law against it. The answer, of course, was no, and so Johnson began to attend briefings.
At a time of rampant racism, a time when women were excluded from many jobs, Katherine Johnston, an African-American physicist, was laying the foundation for the Space Age...

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The "S" in STEM: Dr Marie Maynard Daly
Marie Maynard Daly conducted ground-breaking research on the impact of cholesterol and sugars on heart disease, as well as examining the circulatory system and hypertension in advanced age. Towards the end of her career, she examined how proteins are produced and organised in the cell.

Today she is remembered for being the first Black American woman to be awarded a PhD in Chemistry in the United States, in 1947, but her legacy is more profound, both in terms of her scientific achievements, and her work in promoting diversity in STEM.

Dr Daly graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor degree in Chemistry in 1942; she completed her Master's degree in one year; and her PhD in 3 years.

In 1988, Dr Daly also established a scholarship for African American science students at Queens College. The fund honours of her father who was a strong supporter of her education and career, and who was forced by economic circumstances to drop out of Cornell University, where he was studying chemistry.

"Enzymes are complicated and indispensable molecules, whose importance lies within their ability to speed up chemical reactions, and to regulate nearly every biochemical process in the bodies of living organisms. Countless scientists spent years researching those intricate molecules - amongst others, one of the most prominent was Marie Maynard Daly....

Marie Maynard Daly conducted important research projects, which clarified a variety of mechanisms happening in human bodies despite all the problems she had to overcome, whether it was race or gender bias, or her lack of money. Her research and studies, aimed at a wide range of subjects, provided an important base for next generations of scientists."

Quote and image: Learn more: #stemwomen #stemheroines #woc

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Emmy Noether: A Birthday Tribute.
Happy birthday Emmy Noether

Today we commemorate the birthday of Amalie Emmy Noether. Emmy Noether was born to a Jewish family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen; her father was mathematician Max Noether. Emmy originally planned to teach French and English after passing the required examinations, but instead studied mathematics at the University of Erlangen, where her father lectured. She is renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. She revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras, and top notch pioneers in their fields such as Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Jean Dieudonné, Hermann Weyl, et al. described her as the most important woman in the history of mathematics.
In my opinion, in physics the most important discovery of her's is the one-to-one correspondence between continuous symmetries on one side and conserved quantities on the other side -- Noether's theorem. It is a deep physical insight whose origin and meaning became clear later in quantum mechanics, where conserved quantities generate the symmetry transformations. Now, you may have thought many a times as to what is "Energy". The answer lies in Noether's theorem. The time evolution in quantum mechanics is governed by the Hamiltonian trough the time evolution operator U= exp (iHt). Noether's theorem again show us that there is a relationship between Energy (Through the Hamiltonian) and system's time evolution. Or in other words, Noether's theorem guarantees that there's a number that's conserved whenever there's time translational symmetry, or in other words the quantity whose conservation law can be derived from the time-translation symmetry is referred to as energy. From spatial translations, one obtains the momentum; from spatial rotations, one can derive the components of the angular momentum; Galilean or Lorentz symmetries are linked to the constant velocity of the center of mass, so on and so forth. Here's a note I wrote on Noether's theorem. 
Around 1915 when David Hilbert and Felix Klein wanted her to be a Privatdozent in Göttingen, there was some opposition. A female teacher would be viewed as a humiliating experience for the chauvinistic society! However, she spent four years lecturing under Hilbert's name. Her habilitation was approved in 1919, allowing her to obtain the rank of Privatdozent. Noether was an excellent teacher and never claimed credit for work she wouldn't deserve. Unfortunately one of her students, Werner Weber, later helped Adolf Hitler to get rid of her in 1933. She moved to Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Even there she had to face the "prevalent" male chauvinism.
Contributions and Publications by Emmy Noether:
A very good article on Emmy Noether from Wikipedia (This happens to be today's featured article in Wikipedia): Noether's application for admission to the University of Erlangen and three curricula vitae. The first of these is in Emmy Noether's own handwriting (In German):
Some memories of Noether: Here's an important paper showing the importance of Noether's work:
And, here's translation of Noether's Theorems in English:
Sadly, male chauvinism still exists in many parts of the world, because of which many potential "could be" Noether are denied education. And its a matter of shame that Noether was also a victim of sexism, like many others. In spite of that, against all odds, she made remarkable contributions in the "magnanimous" world of Mathematics, and Theoretical Physics.
Image Courtesy: Pioneering Women Of Physics

#EmmyNoether #mathematics   #physics   #happybirthday  

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Aerospace Engineer Professor Anita Sengupta
Sitting in a conference hearing a male colleague speak about the mentors who'd supported his career, +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Professor Anita Sengupta realised that, as one of the few women in her field, she'd never had this type of support.

"I sat there thinking, I've been working here for 10 years, and I never had that... I’m also a professor at +University of Southern California,  and there are very few female professors in hard science and engineering fields. So, there aren’t enough female role models girls can look up to and feel like this kind of thing is normal. It’s a huge detractor. There aren’t enough role models pulling girls in."

On +Fast Company, Professor Sengupta also talks about being from a migrant family and drawing support from her parents. She is developing the International Space Station Cold Atom Lab.

Thanks to Dr +Bill Carter for sharing this article. He said on his original post: "I feel like a broken record about these issues. Bears repeating: We need the best and brightest doing science and engineering. No excuses." Hear, hear!

#stemwomen   #engineering   #aerospace   #stem   #science   #steminspire  

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Engineering Career Advice for Girls
Cherrill Spencer is a Magnet Engineer at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. With a successful 30-year career beyond academia she has excellent advice for girls in STEM.

"If you are still in high school then take as many math classes as you can, because you will need a good basis in mathematics in order to become a scientist or engineer or technician. It is more important to take the math classes than extra science classes if you find your schedule is too full. Take a public tour of the national lab closest to where you live to see what amazing things they are doing there. Watch the science programs on public TV such as NOVA, and find out what kind of science you find most interesting. You will be happier if you can identify which field of science you find most appealing i.e. physics or chemistry or biology or engineering , and study that as an undergraduate, rather than picking a field because your parents want you to do it, or you think you'll make more money in it."

Image, quote and more on Spencer's career: #stemwomen #engineering

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First Woman Leader of CERN: Fabiola Gianotti
In November 2014, Dr Fabiola Gianotti was announced as the head of CERN, Europe's most renowned particle physics laboratory. Fabiola has been hailed as one of the world's leading scientific minds, including by Time, who chose her as a runner up as their Person of the Year in 2012. Dr Gianotti serves on several university and international science committees, including the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nation Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Here's a little more about Dr Gianotti.

"Gianotti received her PhD in experimental particle physics from the University of Milan in 1989. Since 1994 she has been a research physicist in the Physics Department of CERN. She has worked on several CERN experiments, being involved in detector R&D and construction, software development and data analysis. She is the author or co-author on more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.”

Image and info: #stemwomen #physics

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Megan Smith Remaking Tech Policy
The New York Times has a lovely feature on Megan Smith, ex-Google and now advisor to President Obama on technology policy.

The article notes that Smith has already had a notable impact on the White House, including ensuring that President Obama meet Vinton G. Cerf, Google’s Vice President and one of the chief architects of the Internet, and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. This helped Obama to support a free and open Internet.

Smith has advised Obama about how to recruit top technology workers, including women, to improve digital and mobile services. She also developed TechShop, a “maker space” that brings together health practitioners, engineers and designers to improve protective suits for health workers fighting the Ebola virus. Smith was also the brains behind the White House's “untold history of women in science and technology” website that promotes historical STEM women and encourages ordinary women in STEM to share their own stories.

All of this in less than six months! What will she do next?

Image & story: #stemwomen #megansmith #womenintec

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Women in Tech: Limor Fried

Ms +Limor Fried is the founder of the DIY electronics company +Adafruit Industries .

H/T to +David Roberts for the share. 
+Glamour Magazine  35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry by +Donna Fenn featuring +Limor Fried from +Adafruit Industries photo by JOÃO CANZIANI

Limor Fried, 35, founder of the electronics and tutorial company, Adafruit

Ever want to make your own mini robot? Fried's company, Adafruit, makes that possible, selling open-source hardware kits to let tech gurus or everyday hobbyists DIY their own products. It all started when Fried made her own MP3 player and put the how-to on her website. "People kept emailing me, saying, 'I saw your project, and I want to build that too. Can you send me a kit?'" she says. "So I thought, Maybe I should start a company." Fried, the first female engineer ever to appear on the cover of Wired, did just that, and last year Adafruit earned more than $22 million in revenue. 

Her words to live by: "I get to choose my own destiny. And you can look however you want because you're the boss."

This is an amazing group of women!

Ruzwana Bashir, CEO of
Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO, littleBits Electronics
Laura Borel, product manager, Jawbone
Leah Busque, founder and CEO, TaskRabbit
Shaherose Charania, cofounder and CEO, Women 2.0
Limor Fried, founder of the electronics and tutorial company, Adafruit
Rebecca Garcia, developer evangelist, Squarespace, and co-founder, CoderDojo NYC
Laura I. Gómez, cofounder, Vyv
Sara Haider, lead Android engineer, Secret
Rachel Haot, chief digital officer and deputy secretary for technology, New York State
Ching-Yu Hu, cofounder, Skybox Imaging
Vanessa Hurst, founder and CEO, CodeMontage
Samantha John, and Jocelyn Leavitt, cofounders, Hopscotch
Nikki Kaufman, founder, Normal
Erica Kochi, cofounder and co-lead, UNICEFInnovation Unit
Vanessa Larco, senior product manager, Box
Dana Ledyard, managing director, Girls Who Code
Jess Lee, cofounder and CEO, Polyvore
Hilary Mason, founder and CEO, Fast Forward Labs
Erie Meyer, U.S. Digital Service, The White House
Kathryn Minshew, cofounder and CEO, The Muse
Isabelle Olsson, lead designer, Google
Michelle Phan, cofounder,
Lynn Root, back-end engineer, Spotify
Clara Shih, founder and CEO, Hearsay Social
Parisa Tabriz, security princess, Google
Erin Teague, director of product management, Yahoo
Kristen Titus, founding director, Tech Talent Pipeline at the City of New York
Deena Varshavskaya, founder and CEO, Wanelo
Amber Venz Box, president and co-founder,RewardStyle and
Poornima Vijayashanker, founder, Femgineer
Hanna Wallach, researcher, Microsoft Research, and assistant professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Cassidy Williams, software engineer, Venmo
Arielle Zuckerberg, senior product manager, Humin

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Megan Smith: From Google to White House
STEM Woman in the White House
You may have heard that +Megan Smith former Vice President of +Google X is now the Chief Technology Officer for +The White House. Smith has both a Bachelor and a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, she serves on the MIT Board, and she is also a successful entrepreneur. She has an outstanding commitment to gender diversity and she is one of the few big-name leaders in STEM who is visible in her work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities. 

Smith's Tech Leadership
Smith joined Google in 2003 where she first ran Google's philanthropic organisation, Smith has been a champion of STEM women issues, including through the Women Techmakers initiative run by +Google Developers, which supports women through visibility, resources and community support.  

More recently Smith oversaw Google's "moonshot" projects, which encompasses cutting edge technology such as the acquisitions that would lead to Google Maps and Google Earth, as well as the development of self-driving cars in Google's "secret" projects team, GoogleX. Google's co-founder +Sergey Brin wished Smith well in her new role, noting that “Megan has inspired so many people through her commitment to inclusion and innovation.”

Shaping the Future of Tech
Smith's new role will be to provide technology advice to the American Government. President Obama said of Smith's appointment:

"Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment. I am confident that in her new role as America’s Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people." (

Gender & Sexual Diversity
At the 2014 Women Techmakers Summit in May, Smith notes, "In tech we still have to work on our visibility." She cites various women leaders who shaped the modern computer and NASA programs, but are not widely known. Smith notes that even the Google Doodle did not feature a woman for the first seven years. 

Lesbian and queer publication called Smith a "Lesbian Badass" and "the futuristic lesbian MacGuyver." They note that Smith's appointment is important both to gender diversity and inclusion of lesbian women in tech. Most LGBTQ STEM events are still largely directed by and geared towards gay men:

"Girls who are entering sixth grade now will grow up in a world where the person directing The United States technology policies and big decisions is a female person. That’s massive! And lesbians in the tech field have previously felt this weird sense of isolation... It’s just awesome to be able to point at a very visible, recognizable and powerful government position that is based on having a massive amount of technology knowledge and say “LOOK WE EXIST LOOK LOOK LOOK.” (

For a longer post with further information and links, head to my blog:

Credits & Learn More
* Image source: Women Techmakers Summit 2014 Gif by Zuleyka Zevallos
* Learn more about some of the women Smith mentions and others on +STEM Women on G+. Start with our #stemheroines  posts which features women STEM pioneers, or check out our HOAs with contemporary women in STEM. 

#stemwomen   #megansmith   #womentechmakers   #engineering   #women   #stem   #stemeducation   #science   #technology   #lgbtq   #sociology  
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