By Eamon O’Flynn – Last autumn, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics released a series of free, downloadable posters that celebrated groundbreaking contributions women have made to science. This series was called “Forces of Nature.”
The goal was to highlight those individuals who, despite having achieved major breakthroughs, have not historically received the credit or public profile they deserve.
The response to the first set of five pop-art posters was so positive – they were downloaded and displayed in classrooms and schools, and shared by journalists, political leaders and many more – that Perimeter immediately began working on a second set, to be ready for release by International Women’s Day 2018.
The new set of posters was launched this week, and they highlight the three brilliant scientists:
Dr. Claudia Alexander was a specialist in geophysics and planetary science, the last project manager of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, and served as a project manager and scientist for NASA on the European-led Rosetta mission to land a spacecraft on a comet. She was also a fierce advocate for women and minorities in science.
Vera Rubin was a legendary astronomer who discovered that galaxies have flat rotation curves, the strongest evidence yet for dark matter. This discovery has driven physics theory and experiment for more than 40 years. She also spent her life advocating for women in science and mentored many aspiring female astronomers.
Vivienne Malone-Mayes was one of the first African-American women to earn a PhD in mathematics. An active participant in the civil rights movement, Malone-Mayes fought persistent racism and sexism throughout her long and distinguished career.
Much work remains to be done in addressing the historical under-representation of women in science, but encouragingly, progress is happening. As part of helping pioneering women earn their rightful place in science history, we hope these posters will find a place on your wall.
This article previously ran on Perimeter Institute, and is republished here with express permission from the author. Perimeter Institute is a leading centre for scientific research, training and educational outreach in foundational theoretical physics. Founded in 1999 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, its mission is to advance our understanding of the universe at the most fundamental level, stimulating the breakthroughs that could transform our future. Perimeter also trains the next generation of physicists through innovative programs, and shares the excitement and wonder of science with students, teachers and the general public. Learn more. Follow in Facebook and Twitter.