Women Physicists

Throughout history, there have been many women physicists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great female physicists such as Marie Curie, Lise Meitner, Sally Ride, Mileva Marić, Annie Jump Cannon.The women physicists featured in this list are from United States, United Kingdom, Canada & Australia and many more countries.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Women Physicists

 1 
Marie Curie
(Physicist Who Conducted Pioneering Research on 'Radioactivity' and First Woman to Win a Nobel Prize)

Marie Curie
20
Birthdate: November 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: July 4, 1934
Amongst the most notable scientists of her time, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the sole person to win two Nobel Prize in two different category, and the first woman professor at the University of Paris—Marie Curie’s list of achievements is incredible. She did extensive research in the field of radioactivity and discovered polonium and radium.

 2 
Vera Rubin
(Astronomer)

Vera Rubin
4
Birthdate: July 23, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: December 25, 2016

American astronomer Vera Rubin is best known for her pioneering discoveries on galaxy rotation rates, her groundbreaking work confirming the existence of dark matter and for her life-long advocacy for women in science. She studied the galactic rotation curves and provided strong evidence of the existence of dark matter. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile is named after her.

 3 
Mileva Marić
(Physicist, Mathematician)

Mileva Marić
11
Birthdate: December 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Titel, Serbia
Died: August 4, 1948
Serbian physicist/mathematician Mileva Marić was the first wife of Albert Einstein and the second lady to complete the full program at the mathematics and physics department of Zürich Polytechnic. Experts still debate over whether she had helped Einstein in his initial research. Einstein transferred his Nobel Prize money to her.

 4 

Irène Joliot-Curie
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1897
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 17, 1956

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, herself a brilliant scientist, won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, Joliot-Curie, for discovering artificial radioactivity. She was also one of the first three female French government members. She tragically died of leukemia caused by exposure to radiation.

 5 
Sally Ride
(First American Woman To Go in Space, Physicist)

Sally Ride
18
Birthdate: May 26, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Encino, Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 23, 2012
Astronaut and physicist Sally Ride was the first American woman and the youngest American astronaut to enter space. Following her death, it was revealed that she had been in a 27-year lesbian relationship with tennis player and professor Tam O'Shaughnessy. Sally herself was a ranked junior tennis player, too.

 6 
Lise Meitner
(Physicist)

Lise Meitner
5
Birthdate: November 7, 1878
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 27, 1968

Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish physicist best remembered for her contributions that led to the discoveries of nuclear fission and the element protactinium. Nicknamed the German Marie Curie by Albert Einstein, Lise Meitner became the second woman in the world to receive a doctorate in physics in 1905. In 1997, chemical element 109 meitnerium was named in her honor.

 7 
Alicia Nash
(Physicist)

Alicia Nash
7
Birthdate: January 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Salvador, El Salvador
Died: May 23, 2015

Born in El Salvador, Alicia Nash later moved to the U.S., where she became one of the first women to join MIT as a student. The physicist met her husband, renowned mathematician John Nash at MIT. Both Alicia and John were killed in car crash while returning home from Norway.

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 8 
Donna Strickland
(Optical physicist)

Donna Strickland
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Guelph, Canada

Donna Strickland is a Canadian optical physicist who is considered a pioneer in the field of pulsed lasers. In recognition of her research on the practical implementation of chirped pulse amplification, she was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, together with Gérard Mourou. She is currently a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. 

 9 
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
(Astrophysicist who discovered the first radio pulsars and was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 until 2004)

Jocelyn Bell Burnell
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lurgan, Northern Ireland

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars. She graduated from the University of Glasgow and pursued an academic career. In 2018, she received the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for her discovery of radio pulsars. She donated the three million dollars she received as prize money.  

 10 
Sophie Germain
(French Mathematician Known for Her 'Sophie Germain Prime Numbers')

Sophie Germain
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rue Saint-Denis, Paris, France
Died: June 27, 1831

French mathematician Sophie Germain had used the pseudonym M. Le Blanc to get hold of notes from the École Polytechnique, as being a woman, she was not allowed to attend the institute. She later contributed to the number theory and also pioneered the elasticity theory. She died of breast cancer.

 11 
Eva Ekeblad
(Scientist)

Eva Ekeblad
4
Birthdate: July 10, 1724
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: May 15, 1786

Eva Ekeblad was a Swedish countess, agronomist, salon hostess, and scientist. In 1746, she discovered a method to make flour and alcohol from potatoes which earned her popularity. Her discovery made her the first female inductee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1748.

 12 
Lisa Randall
(Physicist, University teacher)

Lisa Randall
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

Apart from teaching at Harvard, theoretical physicist Lisa Randall has also held professorships at MIT and Princeton. She has also written several popular books, such as Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven’s Door. One of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2007, she has also written a libretto for an opera.

 13 
Annie Jump Cannon
(Astronomer)

Annie Jump Cannon
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dover
Died: April 13, 1941

After studying physics and astronomy at Wellesley College, Annie Jump Cannon traveled across Europe and focused on photography for a decade, before venturing to study astronomy again. At the Harvard Observatory, she made a considerable contribution to the classification of stellar bodies. She was almost deaf due to scarlet fever.

 14 
Laura Bassi
(Physicist)

Laura Bassi
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1711
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: February 20, 1778

Known as Bolognese Minerva, Laura Bassi became the first woman physics professor to have taught at a European university, when she started teaching at the University of Bologna. A child prodigy, she excelled in Latin and math at age 5. She was also the first lady with a doctorate in science.

 15 
Lene Hau
(Physicist)

Lene Hau
4
Birthdate: November 13, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vejle, Denmark

Lene Hau is a Danish physicist and educator currently serving as the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. She has done major research into novel interactions between ultracold atoms and nanoscopic-scale systems. She also often speaks at international conferences. She is a recipient of the George Ledlie Prize and the Richtmyer Memorial Award. 

 16 

Hélène Langevin-Joliot
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France

French nuclear-physicist Hélène Langevin-Joliot comes from the distinguished Curie family, which includes five Nobel Laureates, including her maternal-grandparents Marie and Pierre Curie, her parents Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie, and her maternal uncle-in-law Henry Labouisse. Hélène serves as a director of research at CNRS and as professor of nuclear physics at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at the University of Paris.   

 17 

Rosalyn Sussman Yalow
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Bronx, New York, United States
Died: May 30, 2011

Medical physicist Rosalyn Sussman Yalow was the second woman and the first American woman to earn the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Best known for her research on the radioimmunoassay, or RIA, technique, she studied science at a time when women weren’t hired for science jobs.

 18 
Fabiola Gianotti
(Physicist known for ATLAS experiment, First female CERN Director-General, Higgs boson discovery)

Fabiola Gianotti
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Fabiola Gianotti made headlines when she became the first woman director-general at CERN. The daughter of a geologist father, she gained an interest in science after reading about Marie Curie. The Italian particle physicist, who played a major role in the Higgs boson discovery, is also a trained ballerina.

 19 
Ingrid Daubechies
(Mathematician, Physicist best known for her work with wavelets in image compression.)

Ingrid Daubechies
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

Belgian-born physicist Ingrid Daubechies was a prodigy of sorts and had started dealing with complicated mathematical concepts before turning 6. She grew up to work at the AT&T Bell Laboratories and also taught at Princeton. She is best known for her research on wavelets and image-compression technology.

 20 

Maria Goeppert-Mayer
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Katowice, Poland
Died: February 20, 1972

 21 
Chiara Nappi
(Physicist)

Chiara Nappi
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Italy

Chiara Nappi is an Italian physicist with research experience in the areas of mathematical physics, particle physics, and string theory. After receiving a degree in physics from the University of Naples, she moved to US to carry out academic research. She has been a professor of physics in multiple institutions. Besides scientific research, she often writes on women in science. 

 22 

Laura Mersini-Houghton
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Tirana, Albania

 23 
Ursula Franklin
(Physicist)

Ursula Franklin
0
Birthdate: September 16, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: July 22, 2016

 24 
Hertha Ayrton
(Engineer)

Hertha Ayrton
3
Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea Island, England
Died: August 26, 1923

Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer,  physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist. 

 25 
Dame Kathleen Lonsdale
(Crystallographer)

Dame Kathleen Lonsdale
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newbridge, Ireland
Died: April 1, 1971

 26 

Katharine Burr Blodgett
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Schenectady
Died: October 12, 1979

 27 
Ida Noddack
(Chemist)

Ida Noddack
2
Birthdate: February 25, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wesel, Germany
Died: September 24, 1978

 28 
Deborah S. Jin
(Physicist)

Deborah S. Jin
1
Birthdate: November 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Stanford, California, United States
Died: September 15, 2016

 29 
Melissa Franklin
(Physicist)

Melissa Franklin
1
Birthdate: September 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada

Particle physicist and Harvard professor Melissa Franklin is known for her research on the Higgs boson and the proton-proton collisions caused by the Large Hadron Collider. Interestingly, she had quit high school to form a parallel school with her friends. The Stanford alumna is also associated with the ATLAS experiment.

 30 
Julia Steinberger
(Writer, Scientist)

Julia Steinberger
1
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Switzerland

A professor of ecological economics and industrial ecology, Julia Steinberger had been associated with the universities of Leeds and Zurich before joining the University of Lausanne. The daughter of Nobel-winning physicist Jack Steinberger, Julia has also led the award-winning research project Living Well Within Limits and supports Greta Thunberg’s climate activism.

 31 
Tatyana Afanasyeva
(Former Mathematician, Physicist who made contributions to the fields of statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics)

Tatyana Afanasyeva
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine
Died: April 14, 1964

Tatyana Afanasyeva was a physicist and mathematician best remembered for making important contributions to the fields of statistical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. She is also known as the wife of Austrian physicist Paul Ehrenfest with whom she collaborated often. Tatyana Afanasyeva published several papers on various topics like entropy and randomness.

 32 
Alejandra Melfo
(Physicist)

Alejandra Melfo
1
Birthdate: February 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay

 33 
Sylvia Fedoruk
(Physicist, Politician)

Sylvia Fedoruk
0
Birthdate: May 5, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Canora, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died: September 26, 2012

 34 

Clelia Duel Mosher
0
Birthdate: December 16, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: December 21, 1940

 35 
Xenia de la Ossa
(Physicist)

Xenia de la Ossa
0
Birthdate: June 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San José, Costa Rica

 36 

Sarah Frances Whiting
1
Birthdate: August 23, 1847
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wyoming, New York, United States
Died: September 12, 1927

Born to a teacher father, Sarah Frances Whiting created history by becoming the first physics professor of Wellesley College, an institute that revolutionized higher education for women, and also established America's second undergraduate and first women’s physics lab. She remains a pioneer of women’s education in science.

 37 

Elda Emma Anderson
1
Birthdate: October 5, 1899
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Green Lake, Wisconsin, United States
Died: April 17, 1961

 38 
Claire F. Gmachi
(University teacher, Engineer)

Claire F. Gmachi
0
Birthdate: 1967 AD
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria

An electrical engineer professor at the Princeton Institute of Materials, Claire F. Gmachi is best known for her research on quantum devices, such as lasers, and their use in the health and environment sectors. She also heads the education program of MIRTHE, a group of 6 universities, as its director.

 39 
Elizabeth Gardner
(Former Physicist best known for her groundbreaking work on a phase transition known as the Gardner transition and on disordered networks)

Elizabeth Gardner
0
Birthdate: August 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheshire, United Kingdom
Died: June 18, 1988

 40 

Maria Cristina Pineda Suazo
0
Birthdate: 1954 AD
Birthplace: Honduran