Women are thought generally to have the biggest impact on the families they may raise. However a woman’s influence often times spreads far, and without much recognition. Women who have contributed to modern technology, and the applications of their original invention have had a resounding effect throughout the world and a shout out to them follows.
1. Hedy Lamarr
When it comes to modern technology, it would be almost unbearable for most people to part with their cellphone. Many daily activities take place on it, from texting someone to depositing a check into a bank account. Who would have thought that a war-time invention intended to thwart an enemy’s attempt at deciphering messages, would have such diverse purposes today? Spread Spectrum Communication Technology was co-invented by actress Hedy Lamarr during World War 2. It was originally designed to alter the frequency of a certain broadcast signal at non conforming intervals, in order to send messages without running the risk of it being deciphered by the enemy. Today it enables people to talk to each other across vast distances without the use of cables, wires or interruptions.
2. Ada Byron
Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, a writer and gifted mathematician was the first woman to devise an algorithm that could be processed a by a machine. The computer. Suffice to say based on her notes the algorithm she invented would have been accurately processed on the first general machine computer. She is thus considered the world’s first computer programmer.
3. Marie Curie
A tip of the hat to Polish born Marie Curie for her discovery of the elements polonium and radium. At the time these two elements were discovered, the only other one known to be radioactive was Uranium. She helped develop portable X-Ray machines and even though her tireless work with radioactive materials contributed to her untimely death, it paved the way for the leaps and bounds made in the medical field.
4. Stephanie Kwolek
The research of Stephanie Kwolek and her work with long molecule chains at minimal temperatures was the foundation for the development of a solution, that led to the production of Kevlar. A major component in bulletproof vests used by law enforcement and military personnel, Kevlar (which is five times as strong as steel) has undoubtedly saved hundreds if not thousands of lives thus far. Bravo Ms. Kwolek!
5. Mary Anderson
When we get into our car we can sometimes take for granted the windshield wipers which come in so handy when it’s pouring with rain. It would be impossible to drive in a downpour without them. In 1903, Mary Anderson noted the need for a device that could reduce the blurring effect of rain on a car windshield. Her device was met with skepticism at first, but thirteen years later it was just another customary car component. Before it was implemented, drivers would stick their heads out of the car window when it was raining, so they could see where they were going!
While women often take a step out of the limelight when it comes to being recognized for things, it doesn’t mean that their contribution to the modern society in which we live today is insignificant, just that the original inventor is little known to most people.