Women in computer science and other technology fields are still underrepresented. For example, only 29.1% of undergraduate and 30.1% of master students in computer science at Columbia University are women.

Despite the lower number of women pursuing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), female technology pioneers have still made great contributions.

With new developments every day in robotics, computing, science, and medicine, women today can make even more contributions for the future.

5 Interesting Women in Computer Science, Technology, and Science

Here are just a few of the amazing women who have in the past or are now major contributors to science and technology:

1. Marie Curie

Polish scientist Marie Curie was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize, and she was also the first (and only) person to receive a Nobel Prize for both physics and chemistry. With her important research into radiation, she discovered radium and polonium.

She also contributed to medical research with her pioneering study of the use of radiation for tumor treatment.

Unfortunately, Marie Curie died of a bone marrow disease likely brought on by radiation she was exposed to during her research. However, her daughter Irene Curie followed in her footsteps and won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

2. Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace is recognized as the world’s very first computer programmer due to her work on “The Analytical Engine,” a prototypical computer design created by computer pioneer Charles Babbage.

Lovelace’s father was the poet Lord Byron, who she never met. Her mother (since divorced) gave young Ada extensive tutoring in science and mathematics so she would not end up “manic” like her father. Despite not knowing her own father, Lovelace contributed greatly to the work of Babbage, considered to be the father of the computer.

3. Brenda Laurel

Brenda Laurel founded the first computer software company for girls in 1996. At the time, video games were primarily designed to appeal to young males. Laurel believed that young women would be more interested in video games if they had a different focus, including social interaction and verbal skills.

Mattel bought Purple Moon in 1999. Laurel is now a consultant and a scholar, and she has done extensive pioneering work in the field of virtual reality.

4. Jane Goodall

An award-winning researcher, Jane Goodall is known for her extensive, groundbreaking study of chimpanzees and their behavior. She spent a significant time in Africa living among chimpanzees to observe their behavior. She discovered behavior such as chimpanzees eating meat, using tools, and protecting their territory.

She also noted that chimpanzees did not have an innate mothering instinct but had to be taught by their mothers.

She authored a number of books about her experiences. She also founded a program called Roots and Shoots in 1991 as a global youth community action organization designed to fight habitat destruction.

5. Rita Levi-Montalcini

Italian Neurophysiologist Rita Levi-Montalcini won the 1986 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for discovering nerve growth factor (NGF). (This was a shared Nobel Prize with Stanley Cohen, a biochemist.) Nerve growth factor is a protein that stimulates nerve tissue to cause the growth of developing cells.

Even at the age of 101, Levi-Montalcini has contributed with further work in brain research, as well as through her foundation that supports African women in science.

Exciting New Frontiers for Women in Technology and Science

Women in computer science and related fields have many opportunities today to be leaders, innovators, and influencers. Whether it is building an exciting new app, launching a futuristic business, discovering new things about the planet, or developing new programs for computers and robotics, women have lots of opportunities to shine.

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