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Ingenious women

International Women's Day 2019 - "Innovation made by Women"

Often the question of who invented it is not so easy to answer. According to the pdf-Datei 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 the occasion of World Women's Day 2019, DPMA Vice-President Christine Moosbauer stated: "With only 6.3 percent female inventors, we are not making the best use of the innovation potential of our country. Today we clearly do not promote women's inventiveness enough in Germany. It is about more than reconciling family and career. We need: Women who set an example, more women in technical and scientific professions, good training opportunities, opportunities to exchange experiences - both on a professional and personal level - and not to forget: good networks".

On our pages on "ingenious women" you will therefore find researchers and inventors who still serve as role models today.

Historic advertisment for one of Paulus´ shows

150th birthday of Käthe Paulus
Aviation pioneer, acrobat, inventor

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.

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Nobel Prize ceremony 2017

Nobel Prize 2018
Three women awarded - Prizes for Physics and Chemistry for female researchers

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.

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Portrait Lovelace

Ada Lovelace
Against all odds: The overture of the age of computer

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.

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Faserstruktur

50 Jahre Kevlar
Stephanie Kwolek - the inventor of the superfiber

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.

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Lise Meitner, ca 1930

Died 50 years ago: Lise Meitner
The bypassed pioneer

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!

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Benz Patent-Motorwagen

First car ride in the world
With hatpin, garter and 3 HP: Bertha Benz´ drive into the future

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.

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Melitta Kaffeefilter No. 1

110 years coffee filter
Melitta Bentz, inventor and entrepreneur

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.

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Gertrude Elion

100th birthday of Gertrude Elion
A life devoted to pharmaceutical research

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.

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Frau im Raumanzug

World Women's Day 2018
Women reaching for the stars

In 2018 we will celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage. And 55 years ago, with Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman flew into space. When will the first female German astronaut finally follow and how far does equality in space go?

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Bilder: iStock.com/mmetamorworks, 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: 24/05/19 

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