10 Badass Female Scientists Changing The World

It's Ada Lovelace Day - so, we're celebrating by looking at the women transforming the future of the world, forever

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Today we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day – a day of jubilation around the world to champion the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

We take a look at the top female scientific role models changing our future:

Peggy Whitson, NASA astronaut

As the most experienced female astronaut at NASA with two six-month tours on the International Space Station, Whitson is the go-to space explorer for expeditions. She has has accumulated 377 days in space and has broken the record for spacewalks by a women with a grand total of six walks adding up to 39 hours and 46 minutes. She became the first female commander of the ISS in 2007.

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Carolyn Porco, planetary scientist

Since studying astronomy at university, Porco has gone onto co-author over 120 scientific papers on planetary science and was part of a team that discovered the seven moons and several new rings of Saturn.

Later this year, she will be the leader of the imaging science team on the second Cassini mission to orbit the sun, with the goal to find life in the ocean of Enceladus.

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Ayanna Howard, robot scientist

Named a top young innovator of 2003 by MIT Technology Review and having worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (after an internship), Howard is now one of America's top robot scientists.

One of her biggest career moments to date involved designing robots that studied the impact of global warming on Antarctic ice shelfs. She's currently a robotics professor at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell, astrophysicist

Inspired by her father G. Philip Bell – who helped design the Armagh Planetarium in Northern Ireland – Jocelyn was fascinated with space since childhood. She was initially unable to study science due to her gender but after much protestation from her parents, she was able to study her dream subject.

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During her PHD studied at Cambridge University, she discovered radio signals that came from rotating neutron stars called pulsars. She was the second author on the paper detailing the discovery but her supervisor and his colleague were awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics instead due to her junior position.

She later became president of the Royal Astronomical Society, president of the Institute of Physics and appointed Dame Commander (DBE) of the Order of the British Empire.

Katrin Amunts, neuroscientist

As a Professor at the Brain Research Institute at the University of Düsseldorf, she is currently leading a team of researchers aiming to build a 3D map of the brain.

Last year, the team announced they'd constructed the most detailed map to date which could help to further our understanding of the organisation of the brain and how it affects behavior.

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Cori Bargmann, neurobiologist

Bargmann's lab is currently studying the relationships between genes, experience and the nervous system to uncover the causes of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's and autism. She's using roundworms to uncover how neurons and genes affect behaviour given their similar gene mechanisms to mammals.

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Cynthia Kenyon, molecular biologist and biogerontologist

In 1993, the American scientist discovered a single-gene mutation that could double the lifespan of roundworms. Since then, her research has helped uncover which genes help us live longer and found a common hormone-signaling pathway that dictates the rate of aging in several species.

As vice president of Calico – a company that aims to extend human lives by 100 years – she is currently working with a team of scientists at research and development company Calico to develop methods to slow aging and prevent age-related diseases.

Rivka Carmi, geneticist

Professor Carmi is the first female president of an Israeli research university, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She first began the study of genetic diseases in the Bedouin community, which has led to a drastic reduction in infant mortality rates and is a world-class geneticist and a pediatrician. Last year, she received an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Nina Tandon, biomedical engineer

Leading cutting-edge research at Epibone (where she is CEO and cofounder of the world's first company growing living human bones for skeletal reconstruction) and Colombia University, Nina is on a mission to grow human bone that can be used to repair bone defects. She was named a TED senior fellow last year and one of Business Insider's '40 under 40: People to watch'.

Sara Seager, planetary scientist

As Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Seager has had a stellar career having discovered more than 700 planets using the Kepler Space Telescope. Her next goal?

Find Another life-sustaining planet. No biggie, then.

Is it too late to change careers?

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