You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Natural Science

Clara Immerwahr

Clara Immerwahr was born on June 21, 1870 on the Polkendorff Farm near Breslau, where she grew up together with her three older siblings, Elli, Rose and Paul, in a wealthy, highly-cultured, open and liberal family, which wore its Jewishness lightly. Her father, Philipp Immerwahr, had studied chemistry and sought to establish a factory, but when this enterprise failed he turned to Polkendoff, where his farming skills and inventive spirit combined to make him wealthy. He married his cousin Anne, née Korn. The family regularly spent the winter months in Breslau, where Philipp’s mother owned a large store selling clothes and dress materials.

Libbie Henrietta Hyman

In 1960, zoologist Libbie Hyman explained her work: “I like invertebrates. I don’t mean worms particularly, although a worm can be almost anything, including the larva of a beautiful butterfly. But I do like the soft delicate ones, the jellyfishes and corals and the beautiful microscopic organisms.” Hyman transformed her love of the soft creatures to writings that brought her international recognition as an expert on invertebrates and as the world authority on flatworms.

Ida Henrietta Hyde

Physiologist Ida Henrietta Hyde’s proudest accomplishment wasn’t her pioneering research—it was her work on behalf of other women scientists. In 1896, she conducted research at the Zoological Station in Naples, Italy, after completing her Ph.D. in Heidelberg, Germany. The next year, she persuaded America’s foremost women educators and philanthropists to make this opportunity available to other American women scientists. The group she founded was known as the Naples Table Association for Promoting Scientific Research by Women. Using a subscription system, the group raised five hundred dollars annually to fund a research “table,” actually a small laboratory, where thirty-six American women in all benefited from Hyde’s vision.

Rahel Hirsch

Physiologist, physician and teacher, Rahel Hirsch was the granddaughter of Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808–1888), the founder and spiritual leader of neo-Orthodoxy and one of the major rabbinical figures of the nineteenth century. Born in Frankfurt am Main on September 15, 1870, one of the eleven children of Dr. Mendel Hirsch, Rahel grew up in a cultured, Jewishly knowledgeable family. Her father, who was the principal of the Jewish community’s Realschule and a leading figure in the strictly Orthodox Jewish community, ensured that she receive good schooling by sending her to a girls’ school in her native city. Since women were not yet admitted to German universities, Rahel went to the teachers’ seminary in Wiesbaden, where she received her teaching certificate in May 1889. For want of any alternative, she taught until 1898, but since she longed to be a physician she went to Zürich, where women had been admitted to medical school since 1840. However, when German universities followed suit, she returned, studying first in Leipzig and later, from November 1900, in Strassburg. Here she passed the state examination in July 1903, wrote her dissertation on the impact of glucose and was immediately licensed as a physician.

Clara Heyn

Botanist Chaia Clara Heyn was born on June 13, 1924, in Cluj (Transylvania), Romania, to Paul-Pinchas (1889–1948) and Sima (née Grünfeld, 1895–1990) Blau, who also had a son, Jehoshua. Theirs was an affluent Jewish family. Paul Blau had a doctorate in international relations and worked as a journalist and businessman, while Sima was a homemaker. In 1931 the family moved to Baden, Austria, relocating to Vienna in 1937. One year later, in response to the Anschluss, the Blaus immigrated to Mandatory Palestine.

Elisabeth Goldschmidt

Elisabeth Goldschmidt was the founder of genetic studies as a research and teaching discipline at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Charlotte Friend

Cell biologist and immunologist Charlotte Friend made major contributions to our understanding of cancer and its causes.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin

Although best known for being the British physical chemist whose crucial experimental data enabled James Watson and Frances Crick to solve the structure of DNA as early as 1953, she received no gracious mention from either of them during their Nobel Prize speeches.

Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan

Botanist Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan was one of the first and rare women who became part of the academic staff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the days when very few women had scientific careers, not only locally but also worldwide. For more than six decades she studied the flora of Israel and published dozens of articles and several analytical flora books. At the age of ninety-one she received the 1991 Israel Prize for her unique contribution to Land of Israel studies.

Gertrude Elion

Gertrude Elion’s biochemistry work revolutionized the ways drugs are developed. She received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine even though she never earned her PhD. Her career paved the way for chemotherapy, organ transplantation, anti-viral medications, and AIDS treatment.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Natural Science." (Viewed on January 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/topics/natural-science>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs