From midwives, to toy makers, perhaps these names are not as famed as some Silicon Valley turnouts, yet they definitely changed the game.
1. Ada Lovelace
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, was the only legitimate child of the famous poet Lord Byron, yet she claims fame in her own right as a writer and a mathematician. In 1842-43 these mathematical talents saw her work alongside Charles Babbage (the father of the computer) on his early mechanical general-purpose computer…
2. Madame du Coudray
Angélique Marguerite Le Boursier du Coudray was commissioned by King Louis XV in 1667 to teach midwifery to peasant women in rural France, with the hope of reducing the high infant mortality rate…
3. Samuel W. Alderson
Samuel W. Alderson, a physicist and engineer, pioneered development of the human surrogates known as automotive crash-test dummies. These eventually replaced the few actual human volunteers and cadavers, (which were useful in collecting basic data, but lacked the ‘durability’), that were previously used…
4. Stanislaw Ulam
Stanisław Marcin Ulam had super maths powers, and worked in number theory, ergodic theory, algebraic topology and set theory. He invented the Monte Carlo method of computation…
Words: Christabel Strong
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This story appears in the September 2014
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