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.

the way that biologists pretend that plants don’t exist as a relevant biological system is so strange to me?

like plant biology is it’s own completely separate field from mainstream biology and you’ll be hard pressed to find a plant biologist in a general biology department but like plants are everywhere? and also actually very important to human civilization unlike, say, c. elegans or whatever weird invertebrate we’ve collectively decided is the next big model system

like you can’t convince me that one of the (many) reasons my bitter biology mom barbara mcclintock was ignored for so long was the fact that she worked in corn and people were like ‘well whatever she found, these so called “””transposons””” or whatever, aren’t actually relevant because like, who gives a shit about plants, am i right? now lets get back to counting the number of cells in this worm boys’

anyways plants are great and we should respect plant biologists more probably


Rest in peace, Barbara McClintock.  A botanist by training, McClintock began studying cytogenetics, during which research she discovered genetic transposition (also known, familiarly, as jumping genes, wherein the genes themselves are responsible for turning characteristics on and off) by the 1950s, but because of the outcry against what was considered her unorthodox ideas, she stopped publishing her work.  Decades later, other scientists replicated her work, her hypotheses were proven, and she was (finally) awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983, the only woman to be thusly honored without sharing the prize.  She died on this date in 1992 at the age of 90.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: May 4, 2005
From: New Haven, CT
SC #3906

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: November 24, 1989
From: Stockholm, Sweden
MC #1575


Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World. Part 2.

Part 1 • Purchase

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

Scientist Sundays: Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock is a distinguished cytogeneticist who led the research on maize cytogenetics. Her work studying how chromosomes change during replication was groundbreaking - such as her microscopic analysis of genetic recombination. She won the Nobel Laureate in 1983 for Physiology or Medicine for discovering transposition - mobile genetic elements.

sorry, can’t hear you over the awesomeness of my gemini squad
  • Margaret Fuller (American journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate) 
  • Diego Velasquez (Spanish painter who was one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age)
  • Paul Gauguin (His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse)
  • Gustave Courbet (French painter who led the Realist movement, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists)
  • Daniel Fahrenheit (German physicist best known for inventing the mercury-in-glass thermometer and for developing atemperature scale now named after him.) 
  • Rachel Carson (American marine biologist and conservationist  credited with advancing the global environmental movement.)
  • Mary Anning (British paleontologist with findings that contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the histpry of earth)
  • Francis Crick (British molecular biologist, biophysicist, andneuroscientist, most noted for being a co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule)
  • James Maxwell (Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation)
  • Carl Linnaeus (Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.)
  • Barbara McClintock (American scientist and cytogeneticist who demonstrated  the notion of genetic recombination by crossing-over and  produced the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome to physical traits.)
  • Peter Higgs ( British theoretical physicist, invented the Higgs mechanism, which predicts the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson, the detection of which became one of the great goals of physics.)
  • Robert Mullikan ( American physicist and chemist, primarily responsible for the early development of molecular orbital theory) 
  • Marilyn Monroe   do i
  • Angelina Jolie    even
  • Chris Evans        need
  • Chris Pratt          to?
  • Queen Victoria (Her reign is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire)
  • Jurgen Habermas (German sociologist and philosopher  widely recognized as one of the world’s leading intellectuals.)
  • Jane grant (American journalist and co-founder of The New Yorker who was also the first full-fledged reporter at The New York Times.)
  • Aloysius Alzheimer (Alzheimer is credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, also called Alzheimer’s disease.)
  • Virginia apgar (American obstetrical anesthesiologist, she introduced  obstetrical considerations to the established field of neonatology and invented the Apgar Score)
  • Nathaniel chapman (American physician, he was the founding president of the American Medical Association)
  • Joseph guillotin (French physician and freemason who proposed the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France, as a less painful method of execution. The device was later named the guillotine)
  • Anne frank  (She is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her diary  documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.)
  • Walt whitman (Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time. “Oh Captain! My Captain!”)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Scottish writer and physician, most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.)
  • Ian Fleming (English author, journalist and naval intelligence officer, best known for his James Bond series of spy novels.)
  • Thomas Mann (German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate.)