Celebrating Emmy Noether, Sameera Moussa, Caroline Bleeker, Toshiko Yuasa and other inspiring women in science – Physics World


Emmy Noether

Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day, which celebrates achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Named after the 19th-century polymath Ada Lovelace, the annual initiative also seeks to engage with the challenges of attracting more women into STEM careers and supporting career development.

Nature’s On Your Wavelength blog celebrated with a piece by Ankita Anirban about five inspiring female physicists. Perhaps the most intriguing of the biographies is that of the Egyptian nuclear physicist Sameera Moussa, who some believe was murdered in 1952 to prevent Egypt from developing nuclear weapons.

There are also tales of wartime daring. The Dutch physicist and entrepreneur Caroline Bleeker, for example hid Jewish people from Nazi occupiers in her factory. And when it was raided in 1944, she managed to usher them to safety. After the war, her factory produced the world’s first complete phase contrast microscopes.

Meanwhile in wartime Berlin, the Japanese physicist Toshiko Yuasa developed a double-focussing beta spectrometer that she carried on her back through Siberia to Japan when she was expelled from Germany by the Soviet army.

Emmy Noether: The most important mathematician you’ve never heard of is a new book from the Canadian children’s author Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Kari Rust, the book was commissioned by Lisa Lyons Johnston, president and publisher of Kids Can Press. Lyons Johnston became aware of the remarkable life and work of Noether when she joined the Emmy Noether Council at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

“Boys and girls, men and women, need to see more women in physics and science,” says Lyons Johnston. “It’s so frustrating that people haven’t heard of her. I wanted people to know more about Emmy, who is a remarkable person in her own right, and also an inspiration for girls.”

You can read more about the book here.

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