#TechTuesday – 5 Amazing Female Engineers That Time Forgot

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There have always been extraordinary women in STEM… it just wasn't called that in the 1800s. Meet these five incredible engineers and learn about their achievements. By Brooke Chaplan (Freelance Writer)

Throughout history, women have contributed to science and engineering, and made our lives better. Oftentimes, you never hear about their amazing accomplishments.

Here are just a few little-known women with impressive scientific accomplishments and how they helped change the world:

Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852

Ada Lovelace was a scientist and mathematician. She worked with Charles Babbage, an English scientist who designed a mechanical calculator.

Ada made notes on the calculator and designed algorithms for its use. She also saw the possibility of using it for more than calculating; for example, she wrote that it could be instructed to compose music. Because of her work, she's considered a pioneer of computer science and the first computer programmer.

Martha J. Coston, 1826-1904

Martha J. Coston was 21 years old and needed a way to support herself after her husband died. He had been working on a signal flare for ships, and Martha studied chemistry and began to perfect it.

When she added a blue color to the red and white, it was able to send the necessary signals. The U.S. Navy bought the flare, and Coston set up a company to manufacture it, which was in business until the 1970s.

Edith Clarke, 1883-1959

Edith Clarke was the first woman to earn a master's degree in electrical engineering from MIT. She began her career at General Electric and invented a device to make electric power transmission go more smoothly through power lines.

She went on to become the first woman to teach electrical engineering at the University of Texas. In 1954, she received the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award.

Olive Dennis, 1885-1957

Only the second woman to graduate from Cornell with a degree in civil engineering, Olive also had a master's in math from Columbia. She started with the B&O railroad as a draftsman. Over time she became responsible for passenger comfort, and she invented a window that could be opened by passengers, reclining seats and a way to air-condition the railroad cars.

Olive became the first female member of the American Railway Engineering Association. Any person with a masters of civil engineering will know Olive Dennis’ name.

Hedy Lamarr, 1913-2000

Hedy Lamarr was a famous Hollywood actress from Austria who was also an inventor during World War II. She devised a way to jam enemy signals that interfered with torpedoes and received a patent for it.

The technique was called frequency hopping and was a forerunner of Bluetooth technology. The U.S. Navy began to use frequency hopping during the 1960s.

These women were all great achievers. You can also be an achiever, when you put your mind to any problem, so honor their memory! Follow their example and find out how to use your passions to your advantage.

Who are your unsung STEM heroines?

Photo credit: Original studio publicity photo of Hedy Lamarr.


About the guest blogger: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives in Los Lunas New Mexico where she loves to read, write, research, and spend as much time outdoors as she can. Get in touch with her via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.