20 Amazing Women in STEM Fields

Scientists are great, no matter what gender they are, but the female scientists on this list are notable for being awesome ladies doing it all in STEM jobs, even before the term was trendy. Who are some famous female scientists? Can women in STEM be super successful? What does STEM stand for even? Get ready to learn.

STEM stands for "science, technology, engineering, and math," four career fields that have generally been dominated by men. However, as the awesome females on this list show, women have been killing it in STEM fields for years. Going all the way back to Hypatia - a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher - this list of females in science and technology shows just how smart and successful ladies can be.

Maybe you are a lady who isn't interested in science or numbers or math at all. That is fine! You probably have other cool stuff you like to do. The women on this list, though, were fascinated by coral reefs and radiation and how to build bridges and lots of other neat things. They chose to throw caution to the wind and make careers and lives out of these STEM areas, and many of them changed the world in the process.

Want to learn what these cool ladies did and discovered? Wonderful! Read on to discover all kinds of fun info about the many amazing women in STEM, whether they're alive and active in their fields today, or are famous women in history who took the first steps for females in science.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

  • Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron; 10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is sometimes regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a "computing machine" and one of the first computer programmers.Lovelace was the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron and his wife Lady Byron. All of Byron's other children were born out of ...more
  • Marie Curie
    Photo: Bettmann / Getty Images
    Marie Skłodowska Curie ( KEWR-ee, French: [kyʁi], Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win the Nobel prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris. She was born in Warsaw, in what was ...more
  • Grace Hopper
    Photo: Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection / Getty Images
    Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (née Murray December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today. Prior to joining the Navy, Hopper earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University and was a professor of mathematics at Vassar College. Hopper attempted to enlist in the Navy during World War II but was rejected because she was 34 ...more
  • Katherine Johnson
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    Katherine Coleman Johnson (August 26, 1918 - February 24, 2020) was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. The space agency noted her "historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist." Johnson's work included calculating trajectories, launch windows and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those for astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezvous paths for the Apollo Lunar Module and command module on flights to the Moon. Her ...more
  • Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the reissued version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. This sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the ...more
  • Maria Margaret Klawe ( KLAH-vay; born 1951) is a computer scientist and the fifth president of Harvey Mudd College (since July 1, 2006). Born in Toronto in 1951, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009. She was previously Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University.