Tribute to Inventive Women
Tribute to Inventive Women
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements regardless of their national, ethnic, linguistic, economic, or political backgrounds. Feminism should be practiced every day. The idea of women having equal rights to men isn’t an agenda, it should be the way of life. But we all need a boost, and International Women’s Day has been lifting women up for over a century. The eighth of March is a day to celebrate the women you admire and pay tribute to women who developed or are currently developing creative technologies to solve problems.
From ancient times, women have been viewed as the guardians of the hearth, so science and other social activities have been the prerogative of men. Regardless, there are many well-known women in history who have come up with truly fundamental inventions and have broken down stereotypes about women’s logic and that the engine of progress can only be led by men.
English mathematician Ada Lovelace is known for the creation of the first description of a computer, a draft of which was designed by Charles Babbage, and the writing of its for program in 1840. The program became an algorithm for calculating Bernoulli numbers, which makes Lovelace the first computer programmer in history. She also coined the terms “cycle” and “work cell”.
In 1816, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot turned the winemaking industry on its head thanks to the ‘remuage’ technology that rids champagne of sediment after three months allowing the drink to become crystal clear. Earlier champagnes were cloudy (through the pellet containing the dead yeast) and did not have the status of elite wines.
Sarah Mather patented her periscope in 1845. An optical instrument used for observation from a sheltered location, the device later became pivotal in submarines.
American inventor Josephine Cochrane designed and built the first mechanised dishwasher in 1886, 40 years before the device became commonplace in homes. According to legend she was frustrated from having her family’s porcelain destroyed during washing and said “If no one is going to invent a dishwashing machine, then I’ll do it myself.”
African-American Ellen Eglui invented the washing machine drum and sold the patent for it in 1888 for $18 because “no one would be a washing machine if he knew that the patent for it was owned by some kind of ‘black woman’”.
The windshield wipers were invented by Mary Anderson in 1903. She felt sorry for the driver who, during a blizzard, was constantly forced to stop the car to shovel snow from the windshield.
The car exhaust silencer was also invented by a woman. Elle Dolores Jones designed the acoustic filter in 1917
Used extensively for food supply during the First World War, American refrigeration engineer Mary Engle Pennington introduced the first mobile refrigeration plants in 1907.
French-Polish chemist and teacher Maria Sklowdowska-Curie (Marie Curie) and her husband discovered the chemical elements of radium and polonium. She became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize, and the very first double winner (Physics in 1903, Chemistry in 1911). She remains history’s only research to win the distinguished award in two different fields of natural sciences.
Inventor Jesse Cartwright was the innovator of a number of home appliances, the Radarange in 1940, the first model of a microwave oven.
American military computer scientist Grace Hopper participated in the creation of the ‘Mark I’ in 1950, the USA’s first computer. She invented the first compiler in history, which led to the development of the COBOL programming language.
Among the innovations that Olive Dennis introduced onto to passenger trains in the early 20th Century were reclining seats, stain-resistant upholstery, larger dressing rooms for women with paper towel, liquid soap and drinking cups, dimmable ceiling lights, air-conditioned compartments, and individual window vents – which she patented – that allowed passengers to bring in fresh air while trapping dust. Other rail carriers soon followed suit, and busses and airlines in turn were forced to upgrade their comfort to compete with railroads.
“No matter how successful a business may seem to be”, she famously said, “it can gain even greater success if it gives consideration to the woman’s viewpoint”.
Bette Nesmith Graham, known as the inventor of ‘liquid paper’, was a simple corrector – she corrected the mistakes of typists. After reviewing the basics of chemistry and spending much time in her garage experimenting with mixtures of white colour, she at last discovered one that glosses over the error, quickly dried up, and allowed reprinting.
In 1942, actress Hedy Lamarr patented a secret communication device that dynamically made it more difficult for communications by broadcast frequency to be intercepted by the enemy. The device has been used in American torpedoes since 1962 an is now found in modern mobile phones and WiFi.
Ann Moore saw the delight with which African children were placed behind their mothers while in Africa for Peace Corps in the 1960s. She designed the popular backpack for carrying children known as the Snugli.
Things develop very quickly in the modern world. Almost every week we hear about a new invention or technology that is ready to improve our lives. When you think about recent technologies, what countries come to mind? Japan? Korea? America? Very few people think about Ukraine. But in Ukraine, many inventors spend every day looking at how to improve the world. Here are some inventions made by Ukrainian scientists and entrepreneurs.
The invention of a ‘candy bar for weight loss’ brings sport to a new level, just ask our Olympic athletes and university handball team! The bars are made of nuts, dried apricots, and raisins, are covered with real chocolate, and each contains an active component. Each treat helps to sustain athletic exercises and increase their efficiency. With three bars to choose from (Drive, Impulse, or Energy) – all for a different purpose – these treats can even be found abroad. The idea belongs to Lyudmila Senogonova, a Doctor of Engineering in the commodity department at the Shevchenko Luhansk National University.
Ever wondered if a brassiere could be converted into a life-saving device? Well, Dr. Elena Bodnar did. And if you think this invention was a bust (pun intended), you better think again! Bodnar’s ‘Emergency Bra’ converts into a gas mask in no time. It will not only save the wearer’s life, but also helps the woman save another’s as well. Bodnar won the 2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize for the breast support-cum-life-saving device. The idea came to her after experiencing the aftermath of a nuclear reactor explosion. “It takes only 25 seconds to save your and another person’s life. Five seconds to snap and convert your bra into a gas mask, 20 seconds to choose which man’s life to save”, she says cheekily. The bra-cum-gas mask can withstand polluted air from radiological, biological, fire, and other natural disasters. They multi-function ‘Emergency Bra’ has the features of a regular bra, a nursing bra, a strapless bra, and a gas mask – all in one. It’s available for purchase online for $30 USD and comes in sizes from 32B to 40C.
Olha Brovarets is the youngest Doctor of Sciences in Ukraine. At just 31 years old, she has already made a discovery that could help in finding the cure for cancer. Her research lies in the structure of DNA and how incorrect pairs of molecules are formed. These pairs are the reason for cancer and their nature and source of appearance remain a mystery. But Olha managed to calculate the regularity with which it happens. Main cancer researchers have already noticed Olha and her discovery and her results have been confirmed by colleagues in the USA, who carried out research in their own laboratories. Now they are exchanging information in order to bring quicker and better results for such an important issue as cancer treatment.
Inspired by NASA space technology, Alla Bozhko and Kateryna Stetsenko created a gadget that will allow you to find stolen bikes. “With the help of a special device in the bicycle’s fork, the web service can track your bike on its online map”, they explain. “It is also possible to prevent the actual theft. This is the main difference from other bike lights.” The device will cost $35 USD and they plan to develop a separate business model for each market.
The internet is full of news about entertainment inventions. No wonder – people like them and pay money for them, so it’s a great way to make money. But besides you need health to enjoy your wealth and happiness. Luckily, young inventors realise this and have made a significant effort to improve the lives of challenged people.
Tamara Voshchylo, a 19-year-old techie from Ternopil, created a talking glove for the hearing impaired. ISIOY (I Speak Instead of You) is a glove-like device that translated sign language into speech. It connects with a smartphone via Bluetooth. When a person signs, the data from the glove is sent to the phone with a pre-installed voice app. Every expression has a sequence number recorded in both devices and the phrase that corresponds to the number is pronounced. You don’t even need to have a command of sign language, you can invent your own! All you need to do is program your own gesture – which takes less than 15 seconds – and assign it to a letter or sentence. There are a few similar products on the market today, but none that connect with smartphones. The advantage of Tamara’s device is that the glove fits the needs of those that don’t speak sign language. It also works for those who have undergone throat surgery, had a stroke, or have temporarily lost their voice.
Luckily society always offers a place for brave, new ideas and stunning new inventions. We trust that Ukrainian women inventors will continue to come up with some of the world’s most ingenious inventions in order to continue to make our lives more easy and comfortable.