Now reading: Forces of nature: great women who changed science

Forces of nature: great women who changed science

Recognize women who changed science with this free collection of print-at-home posters.

The first computer algorithm. Stellar classification systems. The discovery of new elements, forces, and other building blocks of nature.

Such fundamental discoveries have shaped our understanding of the universe and ourselves. Many were made by women who pursued their research in the face of gender discrimination and did not get the recognition they deserved.

Women have been historically under-represented in physics; progress is happening, but there is much work to be done. Systemic and cultural barriers still exist. Part of making positive change includes celebrating the contributions women have made to science, especially those women overlooked in their time. That’s why Perimeter Institute has created the “Forces of Nature” poster series.

Download them. Print them. Share them. Post them in classrooms, dorm rooms, living rooms, offices, and physics departments. Talk about these women. Share their stories.

Downloading is free – just click on the images below, fill out the short form, and we’ll email you hi-res images that can be printed as large as 24” x 36”.

Perimeter Institute is working to help remove barriers for women in science. From research fellowships to school outreach, Perimeter’s Emmy Noether Initiatives offer a suite of programs that aim to inspire and support the women (and teens) who are contributing to our understanding of the universe. Learn more at


Marie Skłodowska Curie

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Marie Skłodowska Curie is the only person to have won Nobel Prizes in two different scientific disciplines. Her contributions to physics and chemistry were revolutionary. She developed the theory of radioactivity, devised techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, discovered two elements (polonium and radium), and invented mobile X-ray devices for use in field hospitals near the front lines during the First World War.


Chien-Shiung Wu

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Chien-Shiung Wu was known as “The First Lady of Physics.” She disproved a “law” of nature, worked on the Manhattan Project, was the first female instructor in Princeton’s physics department, and earned a reputation as the leading experimental physicist of her time.


Ada Lovelace

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Mathematician Ada Lovelace was the first person to recognize that computers would have applications beyond pure calculation. She wrote the first algorithm intended to be carried out by the “mechanical computer” proposed by Charles Babbage, and in time became known as the first computer programmer.


Annie Jump Cannon

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Annie Jump Cannon was vital to the development of contemporary stellar classification. Her work – known as the Harvard Classification Scheme – was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures and spectral types. A devoted suffragist, Cannon helped pave the way for women in astronomy. An award in her name is presented by the American Astronomical Society each year to female astronomers for distinguished contributions to the field.


Emmy Noether

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Emmy Noether was a math and physics pioneer who refused to sit on the sidelines. Shut out of academia due to her gender, she persisted and earned a PhD. Banned from teaching, she did it anyway and eventually held an official position. Hounded out of Germany by the Nazis, she went to the US and taught at Bryn Mawr and Princeton. Today, Noether’s discoveries in symmetry and conservation underpin much of modern physics.


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