In honour of it being Women’s History Month, my article this week is dedicated to some of the inventions and creations that would not exist without the excellence of female pioneers. It tends to be male inventors such as Henry Ford, Nikola Tesla and Alexander Graham Bell who receive the most clout for their inventions, however the masterminds behind many ingenious inventions happen to be women. Here are just a few…
- Ada Lovelace: Computer Algorithm
Ada Lovelace wrote the world’s first computer programme in the 1840’s and is hailed as the first computer programmer. She wrote an algorithm for a computing machine known as the Analytical Engine, after she realised that the computer could follow a series algebraic patterns and simple instructions.
- Letitia Geer: Medical Syringe
In 1896 Geer revolutionised medical world by filing for a patent for a new design for the medical syringe. She designed a syringe that could be operated using only one hand- before this, syringes required two hands to administer medicine into the body. Modern day syringes continue to be based on her design, as it makes it easier for health care workers to give injections.
- Hedy Lamarr: Wireless transmission technology
Wifi, GPS, and Bluetooth are all based on the work of Lamarr. Diverting from her movie star roots, in 1941 Lamarr developed a frequency hopping technology, a system which allowed radio waves to jump onto different frequencies, an idea which was originally used to prevent the US Navy’s radio signals from being intercepted by the enemy in WW2.
- Stephanie Kwolek: Kevlar
In 1965, Kwolek accidentally created Kevlar, a synthetic material which has gone on to save countless lives in the form of bullet-proof vests. Kevlar is also used in the production of boats, planes, ropes, cables, and almost 200 more applications.
- Ruth Graves Wakefield: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie? Well, you have Ruth Wakefield to thank for her invention in 1938, when whilst planning to bake some Chocolate Butter Drop Do Cookies, she realised she was out of baking chocolate. She instead chopped up some sweet Nestle chocolate and scattered it into the cookie dough, and thus the chocolate chip cookie was born.