The Most Famous Female Chemist: Celebrating the Achievement and Impact of Women in Chemistry

Choose the female chemist you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 21, 2024 07:08
Step right into the fascinating world of chemistry and join us on a thrilling journey as we uncover the most famous female chemists who've made groundbreaking contributions to the field! At StrawPoll, we've curated a riveting ranking that celebrates the exceptional achievements of these brilliant women who've defied odds, shattered stereotypes, and altered the course of scientific history. Dive into the captivating stories of these trailblazing ladies, cast your vote for your favorite, and watch them rise in the rankings. Can't find your preferred female chemist on our list? Don't worry! You can always suggest a missing option and enlighten other readers about her remarkable work. So, put on your lab coats and safety goggles, and let's embark on a phenomenal adventure to discover the most famous female chemist in history!

Who Is the Most Famous Female Chemist?

  1. 1

    Marie Curie

    Marie Curie
    She discovered the elements polonium and radium and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911. She is considered one of the most influential scientists of all time.
    Marie Curie was a renowned physicist and chemist who made pioneering contributions to the field of radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and remains the only person to have received Nobel Prizes in two different scientific disciplines. Curie's groundbreaking research laid the foundation for modern nuclear physics and medical treatments.
    • Birthdate: November 7, 1867
    • Nationality: Polish, later became French
    • Nobel Prizes: Physics (1903), Chemistry (1911)
    • Discoveries: Polonium and Radium
    • First Woman: To win a Nobel Prize
    Marie Curie in other rankings
  2. 2
    She won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964 for her work in determining the structure of important biomolecules, including penicillin and vitamin B12.
  3. 3
    Rosalind Franklin
    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Rosalind Franklin

    Raymond Gosling
    She made significant contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA, which earned her recognition posthumously. Her work was crucial in understanding the role of DNA in inheritance and genetic disease.
    Rosalind Franklin is a scientific instrument used for X-ray crystallography, a technique used to determine the 3D structure of molecules. It played a pivotal role in discovering the double helix structure of DNA.
    • Type: Scientific instrument
    • Function: X-ray crystallography
    • Field of Application: Molecular biology
    • Discovery: Double helix structure of DNA
    • Year of Creation: 1951
    Rosalind Franklin in other rankings
  4. 4
    Gertrude B. Elion
    GlaxoSmithKline plc · CC BY 4.0
    She won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988 for developing drugs to treat leukemia and autoimmune disorders. She was also instrumental in the development of the first successful immunosuppressive drug.
    Gertrude B. Elion in other rankings
  5. 5
    She won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for her work on the structure and function of the ribosome, which is responsible for protein synthesis in all living organisms.
    Ada Yonath in other rankings
  6. 6
    She was a rocket fuel scientist who played a key role in the launch of America's first satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. Her work was instrumental in the early days of the space race.
  7. 7

    Chien-Shiung Wu

    Chien-Shiung Wu
    She conducted groundbreaking experiments in nuclear physics and was instrumental in disproving the law of conservation of parity. Her work led to a greater understanding of the fundamental forces of nature.
    Chien-Shiung Wu, also known as the First Lady of Physics, was a renowned scientist who made significant contributions in the field of experimental physics. She was a Chinese-American physicist and educator, born on May 31, 1912, in Liuhe, China. Wu is best known for her work on the beta decay of atomic nuclei, which helped confirm the violation of the principle of conservation of parity, earning her the recognition as the most beautiful scientist by the Chinese public.
    • Nationality: Chinese-American
    • Birth Date: May 31, 1912
    • Birthplace: Liuhe, China
    • Field: Experimental Physics
    • Contributions: Beta decay of atomic nuclei, violation of conservation of parity
    Chien-Shiung Wu in other rankings
  8. 8

    Rachel Carson

    Rachel Carson
    She was a marine biologist and conservationist who wrote the influential book "Silent Spring," which raised public awareness about the dangers of pesticide use. Her work helped lead to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.
    Rachel Carson is not a scientist, but an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist. She is renowned for her groundbreaking work in environmental conservation with a focus on the harmful effects of pesticides and her influential book 'Silent Spring'.
    • Birthdate: May 27, 1907
    • Field of Expertise: Marine Biology and Conservation
    • Publication Date: September 1962
    • Book Title: Silent Spring
    • Influence: Catalyzed the modern environmental movement
    Rachel Carson in other rankings
  9. 9
    She was a biochemist who made important contributions to our understanding of enzyme mechanisms and the metabolism of nucleotides. She also helped develop new techniques for studying chemical reactions in living cells.
  10. 10
    Alice Ball
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    She was a chemist who developed a groundbreaking treatment for leprosy in the early 1900s. Her work helped improve the lives of many people suffering from this debilitating disease.

Missing your favorite female chemist?


Ranking factors for famous female chemist

  1. Contributions to the field of chemistry
    The chemist's discoveries, research, inventions, and contributions to the scientific community should be considered.
  2. Impact on society
    The impact the chemist's work has had on society, whether it be through their contributions to medicine, environmental science, or innovation.
  3. Recognition and awards
    The chemist's awards, accolades, and recognition from their peers and the scientific community are also important factors to consider.
  4. Career trajectory
    How the chemist's career has progressed, including their professional accomplishments and successes in the field.
  5. Historical significance
    The role the chemist played in the history of science and their impact on future generations of scientists.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous female chemist. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or chemistess is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 207 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each chemistess once every 24 hours. The rank of each chemistess is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous female chemist

Chemistry is a fascinating field of science that has produced some of the most groundbreaking discoveries in human history. From the discovery of penicillin to the creation of the periodic table, chemists have played a vital role in shaping our world. However, for many years, the field of chemistry was dominated by male scientists, leaving little room for women to make significant contributions. Despite the many obstacles they faced, female chemists have made significant contributions to the field of chemistry, and many of them have achieved worldwide recognition for their groundbreaking work. From Marie Curie, who discovered radium and polonium, to Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of important biomolecules like penicillin and insulin, female chemists have left an indelible mark on the history of science. Today, there are many female chemists making significant contributions to the field, including Jennifer Doudna, who co-invented CRISPR gene editing technology, and Frances Arnold, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on directed evolution. As we continue to explore the mysteries of the universe, we must remember the vital role that female chemists have played in shaping our understanding of the world around us.

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