Big Picture

Ten Important Women in Natural Sciences Everyone Should Know

Ten women in science managed to succeed through their journey in the field of research making a difference and helping the society to go one step further. Who are these women? In this article, you will find some information about their lives and career.

  1. Susan Solomon – American Atmospheric Chemist: She was born in 1956 and she has been working for most of her career at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2011 she joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was the first to identify the chlorofluorocarbon free radical reaction mechanism as the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole. Solomon with her team measured levels of chlorine oxide which is 100 times higher than expected. In 1999 she was awarded the National Medal of Science, in 2012 she gained the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award and the Vetlesen Prize which she shared with Jean Jouzel.
  2. Donna Theo Strickland – Canadian Optical Physicist
    She was born in 1959. She is a pioneer in the field of pulsed lasers. In collaboration with Gerard Mourou, she invented the chirped pulse amplification without destroying the amplifying material. In 2000 she won the Cottrell Scholars Award, in 2008 she was named a fellow of The Optical Society, and in 2018 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with Gerard Mourou and Arthur Ashkin.
  3. Linda Brown Buck- American Biologist
    She is 73 years old and she has become famous for her work on the olfactory system. She is currently on the faculty of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. In 1992 she gained the Takasago Award, in 2003 she won the Gairdner Foundation International Award and in 2004 she was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, shared with Richard Axel.
  4. Carol Widney Greider – American Molecular Biologist
    She is 59 years old and she was born in San Diego. She is Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University and recently joined the faculty at UC Santa Cruz as a distinguished professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology. Greider discovered the enzyme telomerase when she was a graduate student of Elizabeth Helen Blackburn. Due to her evolved the study on the structure of telomeres which protects the chromosome. In 2003 she gained the Richard Lounsbery Award and in 2006 the Lasker Award. In 2009 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (shared with Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak) and in 2019 she received the Pinnacle Award from Association for Women in Science.
  5. Elizabeth Helen Blackburn – Australian – American Molecular Biologist
    She is the former President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Previously she was a biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco where she studied the telomere. She is 71 years old and she was born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Because of her discovery of the telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the telomere in collaboration with Carol W. Greider she was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine sharing it with Greider and Jack W. Szostak. Blackburn was the first Australian woman to win a Nobel Prize.
  6. Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell – British Astrophysicist
    She was born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland in 1943. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. After that, she was credited with one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century. The discovery was recognized by the award of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics but although she was the first to observe the pulsars, Bell was not one of the recipients of the prize. However, she has been awarded many times in her career. In 1978 she won the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize and in 1989 the Herschel Medal. In 2018 she was awarded a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
  7. Dame Jane Morris Goodall – English Anthropologist and Primatologist
    She is 86 years old and she was born in London. She is known for her study of chimpanzees and for her work in conservationism and animal welfare. More specifically she studied the familial and social interactions of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania. Her notable recognitions include a Kyoto Prize in 1990, a Hubbard Medal in 1995, a UNESCO 60th Anniversary Medal in 2006, and a Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2019.
  8. Sara Seager – Canadian-American Astronomer and Planetary Scientist
    She is known for her research on extrasolar planets and their atmospheres. She was born in 1971 and is known as an astronomical Indiana Jones. Her notable recognitions include NSERC Science and Technology Fellowship Award in 1990, a Harvard Bok Prize in Astronomy in 2004, a Sackler Prize in 2012, and a MacArthur Fellowship award in 2013.
  9. Lisa Randall – American Theoretical Physicist
    She is working in particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of Harvard University. Along with Raman Sundrum, she developed the Randall-Sundrum model, which describes the world in a warped-geometry higher-dimensional universe. Her notable recognitions include a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1992, a Lilienfeld Prize in 2007,  Andrew Gemant Award in 2012, and a J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics in 2019.
  10. Jennifer Anne Doudna – American Biochemist
    She is 56 years old and she is known for her pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing for which she was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Emmanuelle Charpentier. Except the Nobel Prize she gained the Alan T. Waterman Award in 2000, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2015, and the Japan Prize in 2017.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at