Leading the Way

Since our founding, Carnegie has invested in top scientific minds, giving exceptional individuals the freedom and flexibility to follow their curiosity. This included trailblazing scientists like Nettie Stevens, whose work Carnegie funded in 1905, as well as luminaries like Barbara McClintock, Vera Rubin, Nina Fedoroff, Marilyn Fogel, and Wendy Freeman. These incredible scientists overcame significant barriers to make their transformational discoveries and paved the way for women in science today.

Still, work remains to be done to bring STEM fields to gender equality. "Scientific research, like all human endeavors, yields the best results when done by an inclusive and diverse community," said President Eric D. Isaacs.

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Quotes from Pioneers

Science is not an inhuman or superhuman activity. It's something that humans invented, and it speaks to one of our great needs—to understand the world around us.

Maxine Singer Carnegie's first woman President, Maxine Singer, served between 1988 and 2002. During her tenure, she advocated for the societal responsibility of the scientist and access to STEM education for all.

There is no problem in science that can be solved by a man that cannot be solved by a woman.

Vera Rubin In 1970, Carnegie's Vera Rubin published her first rotation curve of the Andromeda galaxy. Repeating these measurements on a variety of galaxies confirmed the existence of dark matter.
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If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off... no matter what they say.

Barbara McClintock Carnegie's Barbara McClintock received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of transposons, or “jumping genes.
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How could you think your questions would bother me? They never will, so long as I keep my enthusiasm for biology; and that, I hope will be as long as I live.

Nettie Stevens In 1905, Carnegie-funded Nettie Stevens published a revolutionary paper offering cytological evidence that the X and Y chromosomes are associated with sex determination.
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But oh, I do want so much a position as astronomer, part of my work with the instruments and part with the reduction of my plates, as men here have.

Phoebe Waterman Haas Phoebe Waterman Haas was one of many woman of the Mount Wilson Computing Division who worked meticulously reducing and analyzing data from astronomical glass plates.
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Maxine Singer.
Vera Rubin at Lowell Observatory with Kent Ford in white helmet.
Barbara McClintock working with maize in the lab.
Phoebe Waterman Haas using a bucket lift to ascend the 150-foot solar tower at Mount Wilson Observatory

Phoebe Waterman Haas using a bucket lift to ascend the 150-foot solar tower at Mount Wilson Observatory. Waterman Haas captioned this photograph “The start up in the bucket.” Image Credit: Phoebe Waterman Haas Photo Album [Digital Scans], NASM.2015.0045, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Today's Innovators

Today, women make up about one-third of Carnegie Science staff scientists and researchers. Meet the women who are pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, shaping the future of science, and inspiring generations to come.

From unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos to delving into the complexities of the human genome, these remarkable individuals are at the forefront of innovation and discovery.

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2024 Women of Influence

We're telling the remarkable stories of Carnegie scientists as a part of our 2024 Women of Influence campaign. Don't miss more engaging Q&A sessions, where you'll get to know the inspiring women who drive our research forward.

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The Next Generation

These early-career scientists are shaping the future of scientific discovery.