Throughout the history of humanity, societal constructs have never truly been equal. As such, certain groups were deprived of the recognition that they deserved. Whether it be because of race, religion or gender, certain people have been removed from history for things that may not have been an issue right now. In this article, we go through a list of women who have made significant contributions to the world as we know it but were never given the acknowledgement for their discoveries and inventions. Let’s see who’s on it!
- Elizabeth Magie Phillips – Monopoly
In 1903, writer and famed designer Elizabeth Magie Phillips created a board game which she called “The Landlord’s Game” as a protest against the monopolists (Rockefellers and Carnegies) of her time. Although she patented the game just a year later, no one was willing to manufacture it as it was deemed “to complex.” Three decades go by when Charles Darrow plays the game with a friend and enjoys it so much that he took it to Parker Brothers. Not only do they publish it under Darrow’s name, but they rename it to Monopoly. After learning that Darrow was not the inventor, Parker Brothers bought Magie’s patent for $500 in the 1930s.
- Lise Meitner – Nuclear Fission
Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish nuclear physicist whose research not only led to the discovery of nuclear fission but also foresaw its destructive potential. Additionally, her discovery helped to lay the groundwork for creating the atomic bomb, many years later. She worked with Otto Hanh for more than 30 years, and while he performed the experiment, Lise was responsible for the theory behind it. She did not receive anything for it and there were two reasons why. Not only was she a woman, but she was also a Jew in Germany in the 1930s.
- Rosalind Franklin – DNA Structure
In 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson, published a paper about their findings on the DNA double-helix structure and won a Nobel Prize for it in 1962. What they did not do, was give credit to chemist Rosalind Franklin, without whom, they would not have been awarded anything. She was responsible for taking the photographs of a DNA molecule, which revealed its double-helical shape. She presented her findings at a conference long before Watson and Crick, proving that she’d already uncovered what Watson and Crick later presented. Additionally, Franklin was working on the molecular structure of viruses with fellow scientist Aaron Klug shortly before her death. Klug received a Nobel Prize for their work in 1982.
- Alice Augusta Ball – Cure for Leprosy
Alice Augusta Ball is a pioneer for several reasons; she was the first woman to graduate from the University of Hawaii and she was also the first woman of color to be a chemistry professor at the school. During the time of Ball’s studies, leprosy, also called Hansen’s disease, was running rampant throughout the state and in other parts of the world, and she spent much of her time there researching the disease. She was able to develop injectables to treat leprosy all at the age of 23. Unfortunately, Ball died at 24 years old, shortly after due to a lab accident while teaching. Her chemistry colleague, Arthur Dean, not only published her reports and removed her name, but he also called it “The Dean Method.” 6 years later, however, Ball’s supervisor spoke out saying that Ball was the person who developed the treatment.
- Hedy Lamarr – Wireless Communication
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-born American actress who was best known for her role in Samson and Delilah and Lady and the Tropics. What she is not too well known for is inventing wireless communication and that’s because her patents were ignored by the U.S. Navy. During World War II, Lamarr, while working closely with George Antheil, developed the idea of “frequency hopping” which prevented people from bugging military radios. Despite having a patent, the U.S. Navy used her finding to develop much of their technologies. It wasn’t until decades later that it was rediscovered, and she was then awarded with the Electronic Frontier Foundation Award and then inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.