Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent political thinkers, Hannah Arendt's articles and books have had a significant influence on philosophy and political theory. Her life and work inspired the 2012 biographical drama film, Hannah Arendt. Her work has also inspired several biographies written by popular authors.
Remembered for her pioneering work on feminist psychology, Karen Horney studied medicine at a time when women weren’t allowed in universities. Going against Sigmund Freud’s concept of penis envy, she suggested the idea of womb envy. She believed psychological differences weren’t rooted in gender but rather depended on the socio-cultural influences.
Edith Stein was a German Jewish philosopher who studied at the University of Freiburg and completed her dissertation on empathy. Always interested in Catholicism, she read the autobiography of the mystic Teresa of Ávila and converted to Christianity, and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She was killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp and is canonized as a martyr.
German-born Dutch naturalist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian is remembered for her drawings of insects and plants. She also contributed to the development of entomology through her detailed work on insects and her documentation of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium is her best-known work.
Hildegard of Bingen was a German writer, composer, Christian mystic, visionary, philosopher, polymath, and Benedictine abbess of the High Middle Ages. Apart from being the most-recorded composers of sacred monophony in modern history, Hildegard of Bingen is also widely regarded as the founder of scientific natural history.
Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, political scientist, and revolutionary socialist. Along with Karl Marx, Engels helped develop Marxism, which has had a profound impact on fields like philosophy and anthropology. Engels is credited with helping Marx publish Das Kapital, a foundational theoretical work in politics, economics, and materialist philosophy. He also co-authored influential political documents like The Communist Manifesto.
Celebrated German-born Peruvian mathematician, archaeologist, linguist, and astronomer Maria Reiche is remembered for her pioneering research on the Nazca lines. Nicknamed the Lady of the Lines, she was initially a governess and teacher in Peru. She later also became a founding-member of the non-profit organization South American Explorers.
Eva Justin was a German anthropologist who specialised in scientific racism. Justin, who was active during the Nazi era, contributed to the crimes of the Nazis against the Roma and Sinti peoples. Eva Justin was tasked with studying children, who were then sent to concentration camps. At least 35 children studied by Eva Justin were killed in the gas chamber.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is a German developmental biologist. She studied at the University of Tübingen where she earned a Ph.D. for her research on protein–DNA interactions. Together with biologist Eric Wieschaus and geneticist Edward B. Lewis, she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995. She is also a recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize.
Born to German-Jewish immigrants in Argentina, Esther Vilar studied medicine before she moved to Germany to study psychology and sociology. After taking up scores of odd jobs, she soared to international fame with her bestselling book The Manipulated Man, which argues that women aren’t oppressed but control men in relationships.
Fiona Kolbinger is a cyclist who created history by becoming the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race in 2019. She took a time of ten days, two hours, and 48 minutes to complete the race with an advance of around six hours over the second closest. She beat over 224 men and 40 women to achieve this feat.
Aparna Rao was a German anthropologist best remembered for conducting studies on social groups in France, Afghanistan, and some regions of India. While Rao's research focused on agrarian populations in Jammu, Kashmir, France, and Afghanistan, her doctorate studies focused on ethnology, anthropogeography, and Islamic studies. Aparna Rao also taught anthropology at Germany's University of Cologne.
Former model Felicitas Rombold is better known as the wife of Spanish-German actor Daniel Brühl of Good Bye, Lenin! fame. The two are parents to two sons and had tied the knot after the birth of their first child. Felicitas is a psychotherapist and boasts of a PhD in psychology.