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What's in a Name?
When it comes to naming your new bundle of joy, many times parents want to give their child a name that carries weight and meaning. Many times that means naming the baby after a family member, but it can also mean naming them after someone famous, a beloved fictional character, or someone who made an impact in society. If you're looking for inspirational women to name your daughter after, here are 10 amazing female scientists that you should consider.
If you and your significant other's relationship was determined in the stars, maybe your child should be named after an astronomer, like Caroline Herschel. Caroline is a beautiful and classic name with the added bonus of belonging to this incredible scientist.
Born in Hanover, Germany, it wasn't until she went to live with her brother, William, in Bath, England that Caroline started gaining an interest in the sciences. Caroline started studying astronomy after William switch careers from music to astronomy. Caroline was the first woman to discover a comet,the first to have her work published by the Royal Society, and the first British woman to get paid for her scientific work. She lived to 97, and received many honors, including a gold medal from the Royal Astronomical Society.
If you want to name your beautiful bundle of joy after a famous physicist but Marie (as in Nobel-Prize winner Marie Curie) is a bit too common for you, try Lise. Depending on where you're from, Lise can either be pronounced like "Lisa" or "Leeze".
Lise Meitner was an Austrian Jew born in 1878, which presented many obstacles to her in her pursuit of an education and knowledge. She collaborated with Otto Hahn on the study of radioactive elements in Berlin, but eventually had to flee Nazi Germany in 1938. They continued to collaborate, and together discovered nuclear fission, which eventually led to the atomic bomb. Hahn won the Nobel Prize in 1944, but Meitner was sadly overlooked by the Nobel committee. She continued her atomic research in Stockholm into her 80s.
You and your partner may be currently melding your genes to create a mini-you, so honor the field of genetics and name your baby after Barbara McClintock. There are plenty of famous Barbara's, like Barbara Bush, Barbra Streisand, and Barbara Walters, so you're certainly setting up your little girl for success with this name!
Barbara McClintock is famous for her study of maize, determining that genes could move within and between chromosomes. At the time, her findings didn't fit in with the thinking around genetics at the time, and were ignored until the 1970's and 1980's when improved techniques confirmed her theory. She was awarded a Lasker Prize in 1981 and Nobel Prize in 1983.
Rosalind is a beautiful name that is influenced by the Latin phrase rosa linda, which means "beautiful rose". It can be shorted to Rosie or Rose, continuing the flower theme. Rosalind Franklin's middle name was Elsie, which is also a cute name for a little girl.
Rosalind Franklin’s life was cut short by ovarian cancer when she was just 37 years old, but she contributed immensely to science before her untimely death. Franklin was a chemist and X-ray crystallographer who made many contributions to the understanding of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite, and her work is what James Watson and Francis Crick relied on in their discovery of the structure of DNA. While she did not win a Nobel Prize herself, her work helped other scientists go on to win Nobel Prizes.
Hardcore gamers and computer geeks should consider naming their daughter Ada (or Agusta, which was her full name) after Ada Lovelace, who is often regarded as the first computer programmer.
Ada Lovelace was the daughter of poet George Lord Byron, and eventually became Countess of Lovelace, hence her name. She was a mathematician and writer, who worked on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer. Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. She also believed that computers could go beyond just calculating numbers, whereas many others, including Babbage, only focused on those capabilities. Sadly, like Rosalind Franklin, her life was cut short when she died of uterine cancer at the age of 36.
The name Irene is derived from the Greek "Eirene" and means peace, which is perfect for a beautiful bundle of joy.
Irene Joliot-Curie’s name might sound familiar, and that’s because she’s the elder daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie. Irene, like her parents, studied radioactivity. Irene and her husband, Frederic, collaborated on research on the structure of the atom, and discovered artificial radioactivity by bombarding aluminum, boron, and magnesium with alpha particles to produce isotopes of nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon, and aluminum. This earned them the Nobel Prize in chemistry, which made Marie and Irene the first parent-child couple to have independently won Nobels.
You may believe your precious newborn is a gift from God, which is why you should name them Dorothy- which means "gift of God". These days it's more common to see a 75-year-old Dorothy than a 5-year-old Dorothy, but why not bring the name back for the next generation? Plus you can nickname her Dottie, which is super cute.
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was the daughter of British archaeologists, which meant she grew up in a household that valued education. She was only one of two girls in her school allowed to study chemistry with the boys. She studied X-ray crystallography at Cambridge, and moved to Oxford in 1934 where she spent most of her working life, teaching chemistry and using X-ray crystallography to study interesting biological molecules. Her work earned her a Nobel Prize in 1964, and in 2010, she was the only woman to be featured on stamps celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.
Photo Credit: Copyright © The Nobel Foundation
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper
Grace is a beautiful and elegant moniker, but name your child after Grace Hopper only if you want them to be named after one tough cookie.
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Real Admiral. She invented the first complier for a computer programming language, and was one of those who popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-eval programming languages. Not only was she an incredible scientist, she was also the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the United States Navy at the time of her retirement, a job she was only able to hold onto by special approval of Congress. She was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded by the Department of Defense.
Maia, in Roman mythology, was the goddess of spring growth, and where the month of May (and the French name Mae) originated from. Mae is also a nickname of Mary and Margaret. Mae is a great spin on May, so if you'd like something traditional sounding but with a bit of a twist, Mae might be the way to go.
Mae Jemison is a physician and NASA astronaut, most notably known as the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit in 1992 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. She also served in the Peace Corp, appeared on Star Trek: The More Generation, is a dancer, and hold NINE honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She also founded a company researching the application of technology to daily life.
To Americans, Hedwig might seem like a strange name to give your daughter (especially to all the Harry Potter fans out there), but it is a Germanic female name, meaning "battle" or fighter". It's the name of a 13th-century German saint, as well as the given first name of Hedy Lamarr.
Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, known professionally as Hedy Lamar, is probably best known as an Austrian and American film actress, but she was also the inventor of a radio guidance technology, which the principles of are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA, and Bluetooth technology.
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