[Montage of contemporary women physicists]


Photo of Agnes Pockels People often ask - why aren't there more women physicists? There are two easy answers to this question. One is that institutions of higher learning and scientific laboratories and institutes denied women access in past centuries. For example Agnes Pockels, whose picture is at right, was denied a university education because she was female. Nevertheless she made original and important contributions to physics. But she was exceptional. In general there were very few women who could do physics before the 20th century. When women breached barrier to higher education, however, they became major players in astronomy, mathematics, and physics. Many of these women are unknown even though their contributions are well known. From the beginning of the 20th century, women have made original and important scientific discoveries often working unpaid and more often under-acknowledged. So the second answer to the question posed above is a repost - namely, there are more female physicists than most people know about!

Return to the homepage where you will find links to 83 webpages for 20th century women who have made original and important contribution to physics. You can also find the names of nearly 300 women whose accomplishments have been brought to our attention. Owing to limitations of time and funding, webpages for only 83 women could be constructed. The webpages are researched, archived and documented data seting forth some of the major scientific achievements. Contemporary women whose contribution are post 1976 are not included.


click on a woman's picture in this website to see her webpage

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Nina Byers and Colleagues