"Innovation made by Women"
Often the question of who invented it is not so easy to answer. According to the patent specification DE 37435, the world's first car was invented by Carl Benz. Without his wife Bertha we would probably not know anything about it today. Because Bertha Benz had the faith and the courage and undertook, not without risk, about 130 years ago the first car journey of the world. This proved the suitability of the car for everyday use and paved the way for the worldwide success of the invention. It was only later that she received the recognition she deserved: on her 95th birthday she was appointed honorary senator by the Technical University of Karlsruhe.
Lise Meitner, on the other hand, was no longer able to witness the appreciation of her pioneering achievements in the discovery of nuclear fission. Although she was nominated 48 times for the Nobel Prize, she never received it. It was only in the past two decades that Lise Meitner finally received the recognition she deserved in the public eye: Streets and schools were named after her, as were prizes, elements and asteroids.
Bertha Benz, Lise Meitner and many other examples of visionary inventors show that there is still much to do before we have really achieved a fair and equal society.
On our pages on "ingenious women" you will therefore find researchers and inventors who still serve as role models today.
Hollywood star, "most beautiful woman in the world", inventor: Hedy Lamarr was one of the most dazzling women of the 20th century. She embodied the beauty ideal of her time, was a scandalous superstar - and author of a visionary patent.
Everybody still knows the name of the first man on the moon. But only a few people knew until recently that some women had also played a decisive role in the millennium project of the lunar landing. In recent years, the names of some of these heroines have become known to a wider public. We present some of them in a small series.
Her invention is used in oncology, at archaeological sites and for solving crimes, throughout the world: Spanish scientist Margarita Salas invented a fast, simple and reliable way to replicate traces of DNA into quantities large enough for full genomic testing.
Käthe Paulus was a dazzling figure: courageous pioneer of aviation, daring acrobat, clever inventor and lifesaver: 150 years ago, on 22 December 1868, the developer of the modern parachute was born in Zellhausen near Offenbach.
On 10 December, the Nobel Prizes for 2018 will be presented in Stockholm. What is particularly remarkable about this year's award ceremony is that two women will be honoured in the natural sciences at the same time: Donna Strickland in physics, Frances Arnold in chemistry. This is an absolute rarity in the Academy's award policy.
She never completely fell into oblivion as she was the daughter of a famous man. But it took more than 100 years after her death until her own achievements were recognized and Ada Lovelace finally became famous because of them.
Exactly 50 years ago, the German Patent Office received the patent application DE 1810 426 with the designation "Mass and fibres or threads made from it". What is described in the disclosure document on 144 pages is a super fibre, five times as strong as steel.
There have always been controversial decisions in the history of the Nobel Prizes. One of the Academy's biggest omissions is that it has repeatedly ignored Lise Meitner in awarding the prizes - despite 48 nominations!
On August 5, 1888, a woman heralded the era of the automobile: Without Bertha Benz, the history of mobility would have been different. On that day, she took her first longer trip by car. And proved to her husband and the rest of the world that his invention was suitable for everyday use and had the potential to change everything.
110 years ago, a utility model was registered at the Kaiserliches Patentamt in Berlin, which is important in several respects: Firstly, the applicant was one of the first women to have her own invention personally protected. On the other hand, this invention was extremely successful and is still present in practically every household.
One of the most important pharmaceutical researchers of the 20th century would have celebrated her 100th birthday these days: Gertrude Belle Elion. The Nobel laureate of 1988 developed some of the most important drugs of our time and revolutionized both the development of new pharmaceuticals and medicine in general.
Bilder: iStock.com/mmetamorworks, MGM / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons, Nobel Media AB, Public Domain, Bild 1: iStock.com/mihhailov, Archiv der Max Planck Gesellschaft, via Wikimedia Commons, Landesstelle für Museumsbetreuung Baden-Württemberg
Last updated: 8 May 2020