As a former student of biology and history of science, the topic of women in science is one that is near to my heart. These three portraits feature three 20th century women scientists who made seminal contributions to their fields: Barbara McClintock in genetics, Grace Hopper in computer science, and Chien-Shiung Wu in nuclear physics.

The idea of a pantheon isn’t limited only to figures in traditional mythologies. Famous figures in modern times, when present in our collective consciousness, can also form their own pantheons. With this project I explored the roles of prominent 20th century women scientists: the symbols associated with them and their work, the larger-than-life nature of their accomplishments, and their contributions to their respective fields.

[genetics] Barbara McClintock’s most famous accomplishment is the discovery of transposons, or jumping genes. She used phenotypic color variations in corn kernels to study transposable elements. She received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983.

[computer science] Grace Hopper invented the first compiler for a programming language, helped develop COBOL (one of the first high-level programming languages), and popularized the term “debugging” after removing a moth from a computer. She was also a US Navy Rear Admiral and an avid teacher, among her many accomplishments.

[nuclear physics] Chien-Shiung Wu was an experimental physicist and one of the leading experts in her time on beta decay. She is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, the results of which contradicted the then-widely accepted law of conservation of parity. She was also a respected professor.

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) was an American scientist and the recipient of the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Her research was crucial to understanding and demonstrating many fundamental ideas in the field of genetics.

Among other ideas, she proved that genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on and off. Her research during the 60s and 70s, undertaken mainly on maize crops, proved extremely valuable, especially in agriculture.

Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World Part II - Clothing.

The ‘WOMEN IN SCIENCE - PART 2' collection is now available as clothing at the Hydrogene Portfolio store! Create custom t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies by choosing a design and background color of your choice. Clothing is available in adult and kid sizes.

Purchase Here!


Barbara McClintock won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 (she remains the only woman to have received an unshared prize in that category). She studied corn for most of her life, which might sound boring, but guess what? It was AWESOME CORN. Her corn studies allowed her to make significant discoveries and demonstrations in genetics, from the process of genetic recombination (crossing-over) to genetic mapping.

McClintock faced sexism in her field that prevented her from receiving proper recognition for her work for well, a long time (like, 30 or forty years).


thanks for the recommendation from troete