Archive for the ‘20th Century Women’ Category

Yes, in 1932 on the 20th of May to be precise, Amelia Earhart was the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic, setting off in Newfoundland. How about that. Hurray for women !


Marie Curie

Posted: January 31, 2015 in 20th Century Women

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist and one of the most famous scientists of her time. Together with her husband Pierre, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903, and she went on to win another in 1911.

Marie Sklodowska was born in Warsaw on 7 November 1867, the daughter of a teacher. In 1891, she went to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne where she met Pierre Curie, professor of the School of Physics. They were married in 1895.

The Curies worked together investigating radioactivity, building on the work of the German physicist Roentgen and the French physicist Becquerel. In July 1898, the Curies announced the discovery of a new chemical element, polonium. At the end of the year, they announced the discovery of another, radium. The Curies, along with Becquerel, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

Pierre’s life was cut short in 1906 when he was knocked down and killed by a carriage. Marie took over his teaching post, becoming the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne, and devoted herself to continuing the work that they had begun together. She received a second Nobel Prize, for Chemistry, in 1911.

The Curie’s research was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery. During World War One Curie helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment, which she herself drove to the front lines. The International Red Cross made her head of its radiological service and she held training courses for medical orderlies and doctors in the new techniques.

20th Century Women

Posted: January 24, 2015 in 20th Century Women

Indira GandhiIndira Gandhi was the prime minister of India from 1966-77 and 1980-84 and one of the most famous women in 20th century politics. Her father was Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India’s first prime minister (1947-64), and Indira spent her life amid Indian politics. In 1959 she was elected to the presidency of the Indian National Congress, and in 1964 she was elected to the parliament. When Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died in 1966, Gandhi was chosen as a compromise candidate to replace him. She was elected to the office in 1967 and advanced an ambitious program of modernization. In 1975 she was convicted of violations stemming from the 1971 election and the High Court ordered her to resign. Instead she declared a state of emergency and clamped down on her opposition (the conviction was later overturned). She lost the election of 1977 and was out of office until a comeback in 1980, when she was again elected to be prime minister. In 1984 she used the military to suppress Sikh rebels and ordered an attack on a Sikh shrine in Amritsar; a few months later, Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh conspirators.