A World of Wonders Revealed

Empress Theodora Porphyrogenita (980-August 31, 1056) was the youngest daughter of Emperor Constantine VII (960-1028) and Empress Helena of Byzantium. She was “born in purple”, referring to babies born while their parents reigned. Her elder sisters were Eudokia, who became a nun, and Zoe (c. 978-1050), who would become regent or co-emperor to five emperors between 1028 and 1050, while Theodora co-reigned with two emperors and ruled alone for a year.

At sixteen, she was her father’s first choice as a bride for the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. But he died before they could be married. After that, Theodora lived in the gynaeceum, the women’s quarters in the inner section of an ancient Greek house.

After her uncle Emperor Basil II (976-1025) died without children, her father became Emperor Constantine VIII. But he did not have any sons and wanted Theodora to marry Romanos Argyros, who would succeed him. Theodora defied him, on the grounds that his wife had become a nun so that Romanos could marry into the imperial family and that they were third cousins. Constantine forced Zoe to marry Romanos in 1028.

After Constantine died, Romanos and Zoe ruled until Romanos died in 1034. Zoe remarried and her husband became Emperor Michael IV until he died in 1041 after which, Zoe ruled alone for a short time. In 1042, Zoe and Theodora became co-empresses for two months, with Zoe as the senior empress and Theodora as the junior. The pair curbed selling public offices and focused on administering justice. Zoe replaced incompetent rules with officials who gained their position through merit. Still jealous that her father had favored Theodora, Zoe tried to force Theodora back to the monastery, but the Senate overruled Zoe and demanded that the sisters rule jointly. This lasted for two months. Zoe married for a third time, to Constantine, who became Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos.

Zoe died in 1050 and Constantine IX in 1055, allowing seventy-year-old Theodora to assert her right to rule. She became sole empress. During her short reign, there were no conspiracies and the empire prospered, without plundering or warfare. But her reign was short. In 1056, she died of an intestinal disorder. As she was childless and the last member of her dynasty, she chose her former military finance minister as her successor and he became Emperor Michael VI Bringas. But after she died, conflicts arose between the noble families who wanted the throne, which lasted until Alexios I Komnenos took the throne in 1081, beginning the Komnenian dynasty.

Though many coins were issued for Zoe’s uncle, father, husbands and some for Theodora, there were only a few for her sole reign in 1041 and her co-reign with Theodora in 1042.

The Honorable Mrs. Mary King Ward (April 27, 1827-August 31, 1869), was an Irish astronomer, microscopist, artist, and entrepreneur. She was born in Ballylin in County Offaly, Ireland, the youngest of four children of Reverend Henry and Hariette Lloyd King. Her maternal aunt Alice was the mother of the famous astronomer William, third Earl of Rosse.

As a child, she became interested in insects and when she received a microscope as a teenager, she studied plants and insects. King was also a talented painted and draughter and her illustrations appeared in scientific publications. She also wrote educational children’s books on how to use a microscope and telescope.

She married the Honorable Henry Ward of Castle Ward in northern Ireland. His elder brother was Lord Bangor. The couple had eight children.

Despite her accomplishments, she is best known for how she died. At 42, she returned to Birr for a memorial service for the 3rd Earl of Rosse. While riding a steam carriage which her cousin Charles Parson had built, she fell from the car when it turned sharply. She died instantly. This is said to be Ireland’s first motorcar accident.

An inquest occurred the following day at Birr Castle, where the jury deemed it an accidental death. Mary Ward is the great-grandmother of English actress Lalla Ward, who played Romana on the BBC’s Dr. Who.

“As there are no precedents for women to enter the Imperial University, this is a serious incident that must be discussed thoroughly”

On August 16, 1913, Tōhoku Imperial University (now known as Tōhoku University) became the first Japanese university to admit female students. The university allowed four women to take the entrance examinations at its discretion. The Ministry of Education sent a letter, stating that, “As there are no precedents for women to enter the Imperial University, this is a serious incident that must be discussed thoroughly” and demanded an explanation. The university ignored their demands and accepted three of the four, Chika Kuroda (March 24, 1884–November 8, 1968), Raku Makita, and Ume Tange. They became the first female baccalaureates and spent several years as junior assistants and graduate students. Chika Kuroda and Ume Tange received their degrees in chemistry and Raku Makita in mathematics.

Japanese Women in Science and Engineering: History and Policy Change

Kuroda graduated from the Women’s Department of Saga Normal School and taught for one year before going to the Division of Science at the Women’s Higher Normal School and went on to enroll in a graduate course there. She completed the course two years later and became an assistant professor at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School (now Ochanomizu University), before continuing her studies at Oxford. After returning to Japan, she became a worked for her mentor Rikoh Majima at Riken as a non-tenured part-time researcher, working with safflower pigments. In 1929, she became the second woman to received a Doctor of Science degree in Japan, the first being Kono Yasui who received hers from Tokyo Imperial University in 1927.

Her research on onion skin pigment contributed to developing Keruchin C, a drug to treat high blood pressure.

Japanese Women in Science and Engineering: History and Policy Change

After graduate school, Tange went to the United States where she received her Ph.D. in agriculture from Johns Hopkins University in 1927. On returning to Japan, she became a professor at her alma mater, Japan Women’s University and worked at Riken under Umetaro Suzuki researching vitamins.

Japanese Women in Science and Engineering: History and Policy Change

Makita also returned to her alma mater Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School to and joined the faculty. But she resigned her position when she married Heizo Kanayama, a Western-style painting artist.

Tōhoku Imperial University had the highest female enrollment among the imperial university system and women were in the law, liberal arts, and science departments. In 2001, the university established the Gender Equality and Multicultural Conviviality to promote gender equality, and adopted the Tohoku University Declaration for Gender Equality the following year and incorporated the Tohoku University Gender Equality Encouragement Prize, also known as the Sawayanagi Prize, named for the first President of Tohoku University, Seitaro Sawayanagi, who was instrumental in the allowing the first female students to enroll.

In 1999, the Kuroda Chika Prize was established to encourage female researchers in their scientific research and careers. 45 have been awarded over the last 15 years. The prize is awarded by the Aoba Society for the Promotion of Science, a group of mainly Faculty of Science alumni, which honours a female graduates who have produced outstanding achievements during their scientific doctoral studies. This prize is awarded to female students selected from the whole doctoral cohort across the Graduate School of Science and the Graduate School of Life Science at Tohoku University. This prize was founded in 1999 to encourage female researchers in their scientific endeavors and careers, and 45 female students have been awarded over the last 15 years.

“Every Great Dream Begins With A Dreamer”

March 8 is International Women’s Day, which originated during protests in the United States and Europe to honor and fight for political rights for working women. The first observance was on February 28, 1909 in New York. The following year, the International Women’s Conference suggested March 8 as “International Women’s Day,” which even became a national holiday in Soviet Russia in 1917 after women gained suffrage. Though mostly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day during the International Women’s Year in 1975. This year’s theme is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.


Charlotte Whitton httpstcelive2s3amazonawscommediamedia69a

Charlotte Elizabeth Whitton OC CBE (March 8, 1896 – January 25, 1975) was a Canadian feminist and the first female mayor of a major city in Canada as mayor of Ottawa, serving from 1951 to 1956 and again from 1960 to 1964. She attended Queen’s University, becoming the first female editor of the Journal, the student newspaper. Whitton received many honorary degrees, including one from Smith College in 1955.

In 1920, Whitton became secretary of the Canadian Council on Child Welfare, serving as executive director from 1926 to 1941, advocating for improved and standardized child welfare legislation. Although Whitton advocated for women’s rights and improving social conditions for mothers and children, she advocated for eugenics, believing that immorality and criminality were genetic. She opposed immigrants considered “undesirable” and “feeble-minded” and those of “Oriental, Armenian, Jewish, or Central European, or lower-class British heritage.” Whitton also believed that juvenile immigrants were “physically, morally, and socially degenerate.” After resigning from the Canadian Council on Child Welfare in 1941, Whitton worked as a freelance writer and lecturer on social welfare.

Whitton never married and lived with her companion Margaret Grier, whom she met at Queen’s University for thirty-two years, until Grier died in 1947.

Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling OBE PhD MSc CEng (8 March 1909 – 18 November 1990) was a British aeronautical engineer and motorcycle racer. Shilling received her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, one of two female graduates in 1932 from the University of Manchester. University records list her as “Mr.” Beatrice Shilling because the entry form did not include any space for women. She received a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree by the end of 1933. Three years later, she joined the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and became the leading specialist in aircraft carburetors.

During the early years of the Second World War, Royal Air Force pilots discovered that the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines powering their Spitfires and Hurricane would stall, allowing enemy planes to escape. Shilling solved the problem by inventing the RAE restrictor, what became known as “Miss Shilling’s orifice”, a small, washer-like metal disc that restricted fuel flow to the carburetor helping prevent engine stall. The initial design drastically reduced engine stalling. Shilling received an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her war efforts.

In addition to her work on engines, Shilling raced motorcycles, breaking into another male-dominated field. She received the Gold Star for lapping the track at over 106 mph, faster than any other woman on two wheels.


From: “Sylvia Wiegand, Grace Chisholm Young and Agnes Dunnett” Posted on February 19, 2013

Sylvia Margaret Young Wiegand (born March 8, 1945) is an American mathematician, who comes from a family of mathematicians. Her paternal grandparents Grace Chisholm Young (1868-1944) and William Henry Young (1863-1942) were mathematicians, her father, Laurence Chisholm Young (1905-2000), was the Distinguished Research Professor in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, and her aunt Cecily Young Tanner (1900-1992), wrote a Ph.D. thesis in mathematics at Cambridge University and taught at Imperial College, University of London. Young’s grandmother Grace was the first woman to earn a doctorate in Germany.

Sylvia Young was born in Cape Town, South Africa, while her father was Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Cape Town. The family moved to Wisconsin a few years later when her father transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where Young also later took math courses. Young attended Bryn Mawr College and graduated in three years, and went on to complete a master’s degree at the University Washington in one year.

She and her husband Roger Wiegand worked in commutative algebra and were eventually hired at the math department at the University of Nebraska. Sylvia was initially an instructor, and became a full professor in 1987, the only female professor in the department at the time.

Wiegand advocates for women in mathematics at the University of Nebraska, including establishing a fellowship o honor her grandparents to support graduate research. In 1996, the math department began an annual summer mathematics camp for high school girls called All Girls/All Math, and in 1998, began the annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. During that time, Wiegand became President of the Association for Women in Mathematics, promoting math and science issues on Capitol Hill and increased funding for math and science education and research. She is also a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

In addition to her mathematical career, Wiegand is a competitive runner, including the 100 mile Leadville ultramarathon which she finished in 29 hours, 35 minutes in 1994.