Big Picture Science
April 8, 2019: DecodeHer
They were pioneers in their fields, yet their names are scarcely known – because they didn’t have a Y chromosome. We examine the accomplishments of two women who pioneered code breaking and astronomy during the early years of the twentieth century and did so in the face of social opprobrium and a frequently hostile work environment.
Henrietta Leavitt measured the brightnesses of thousands of stars and discovered a way to gauge the distances to galaxies, a development that soon led to the concept of the Big Bang.
Elizabeth Friedman, originally hired to test whether William Shakespeare really wrote his plays, was soon establishing the science of code breaking, essential to success in the two world wars.
Also, the tech industry is overwhelmingly male. Girls Who Code is an initiative to redress the balance by introducing girls to computer programming, and encouraging them to follow careers in tech.
- Lauren Gunderson – Playwright of Silent Sky, which is being performed all over the world, form the First Folio Theatre to the Repertory Philippines
- Jason Fagone – Author of “The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies”
- Reshma Saujani – Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, and the author of “Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder”