Women who changed the world with science

Updated 1829 GMT (0229 HKT) November 13, 2015
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Sally Ride gained fame as America's first astronaut in space. But many other women who contributed to science, medicine and technology never got much recognition outside their own fields, writes Rachel Swaby in her book, "Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World." Click through the gallery to learn more about some of these female pioneers. Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images
This pioneer an anesthesiologist developed the APGAR score (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration), a well-known system to evaluate the health of newborn babies. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
This physician became the director of the Cancer Research Foundation at Harlem Hospital by age 33. Wright studied chemotherapy with human tissue samples rather than mice, and developed chemotherapy delivery methods by way of catheter. National Library of Medicine
Levi-Montalcini constructed a clandestine basement research laboratory in Italy during World War II for nerve cell research using chicken embryos. She and her collaborator, Stanley Cohen, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986. Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images
Her methods of commanding an analytical machine to return numbers created what is considered the world's first computer program. The computer language ADA was named after this 19th-century mathematician. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A physicist, Wu was the first recipient of the Wolf Prize in Physics. She worked on the Manhattan Project by assisting in separating uranium isotopes U-235 and U-238 by gaseous diffusion. Wu also helped prove the hypothetical "Law of Conservation of Parity" invalid. Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
A German-born mathematician, Noether was a co-founder of abstract algebra, despite discrimination because of her gender, weight and Jewish ancestry, according to Swaby. Einstein described her as "the most significant mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began." Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Born Hedwig Kiesler in Austria, Lamarr was already a famous movie star in 1941 when she devised a frequency-hopping communications technology -- one resistant to enemy jamming -- to guide Allied torpedoes during World War II. The technology was applied commercially more than three decades later in wireless cash registers and bar-code readers. Hulton Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images
The New Orleans-born chemist developed a means of making durable, wrinkle-free cotton that essentially saved the struggling cotton industry after the invention of polyester and other synthetic fabrics. Lemelson-MIT
This American biologist wrote a paper based on her idea that cells cooperate and form symbiotic relationships rather than competitive ones, as was previously thought. Her paper was rejected 15 times before it was published. Nancy R. Schiff/Getty Images
A leader in genetics research, McClintock used corn to develop understanding of transposition: the idea that genes turn physical characteristics on and off. Unrecognized for years, she received the 1983 Nobel Prize for Medicine at age 81. Associated Press
In 1934, Widdowson found that iron was absorbed through the skin rather than excreted. The British chemist and dietitian published "The Chemical Composition of Foods," with a groundbreaking 15,000 food nutritional values, in 1940 along with research partner Robert McCance. She studied the effects of fluid and salt on the body and kidneys, and created bread designed to combat malnutrition during World War II. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Hamilton was a pioneer in the field of toxicology. She researched the effects of lead poison on factory workers, isolated a typhoid fever outbreak in 1922, and lent her expertise to help crack down on the sale of cocaine to children in Chicago during the 1920s. She was the first female faculty member of Harvard Medical School. FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Evans studied two strains of bacteria that caused severe health problems among cattle. Before her research, the two strains were considered entirely separate. Evans discovered that the bacteria in question, Bacillus abortus and Micrococcus melitensis, were not only related, but were capable of affecting humans as well. The strains are now combined under one genus: Brucellosis. Library of Congress
Hopper coined the term "computer bug" when she found a moth physically in her computer. Hopper joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a mathematician despite being physically unqualified. She wrote a 561-page manual on the Mark 1 -- a 51-foot long, 5-ton computer. She designed the first compiler, known as A-O, which simplified binary code. Naval History and Heritage Command
Seen here with fellow mathematician Charles Pugh, Cartwright combined previous equations to solve scattered radio frequencies. She dabbled in chaos theory, a mathematical study focusing on the behavior of dynamic systems that change wildly based on small differences in initial conditions. Courtesy Jacobs, Konrad