List of female scientists before the 20th century

This is a historical list, intended to deal with the time period where it is believed that women working in science were rare. For this reason, this list ends with the 20th century.


Marble herm in the Vatican Museums inscribed with Aspasia's name at the base. Discovered in 1777, this marble herm is a Roman copy of a 5th-century BC original and may represent Aspasia's funerary stele.
Hypatia by Julia Cameron
  • Gargi Vachaknavi (7th century BCE), Indian philosopher
  • Abrotelia (5th BCE), philosopher in Ancient Greece
  • Aemilia (c. 300 CE–363 CE), Gallo-Roman physician
  • Aesara of Lucania (4th or 3rd BCE), philosopher in Ancient Greece
  • Agamede (12th century BCE), physician in Ancient Greece (possibly mythical)
  • Aglaonike (2nd century BCE), first woman astronomer in Ancient Greece
  • Agnodike (4th century BCE), first woman physician to practice legally in Athens[1]:2
  • Andromache (mid-6th century), Egyptian physician[2]:39
  • Amyte (300 BCE), Greek physician and poet[2]:40
  • Arete of Cyrene (5th–4th centuries BCE), natural and moral philosopher, North Africa
  • Artemisia of Caria (c. 300 BCE), botanist
  • Asclepigenia (4th AD), Greek Neoplatonist[2]:55
  • Aspasia (4th century BCE), philosopher and scientist
  • Aspasia the Physician (fl. 1st century CE), Greek physician
  • Axiothea of Phlius (fl. c. 350 BCE), Greek philosopher[2]:62
  • Aurelia Alexandria Zosime, Ancient Roman physician [3]
  • Beronice (1st AD), Roman philosopher[2]:118
  • Caerellia (c. 45 BCE), Roman academician[2]:219
  • Clea (1st–2nd century AD), philosopher[2]:267
  • Cleachma (5th century BCE), Greek philosopher[2]:267–68
  • Cleopatra the Alchemist – wrote the alchemical book, Chrysopoeia, or "gold-making"[4]:99[5]
  • Damo (6th century BCE), Greek natural philosopher
  • Diotima of Mantinea (4th century BCE), philosopher and scientist, ancient Greece (sources vary as to her historicity; possibly a fictionalized character based on Aspasia of Miletus)
  • Eccello of Lucania (5th or 4th century BCE), Greek/Italian mathematician and natural philosopher[2]:396
  • Echecratia the Philiasian (5th century BCE), Greek/Italian mathematician and natural philosopher[2]:397
  • Elephantis (1st century BCE), Greek physician
  • Enheduanna (c. 2285–2250 BCE), Sumerian/Akkadian astronomer and poet
  • Fabiola (died 399 CE), Roman physician
  • Fang (first century B.C.), Chinese chemist
  • Favilla (2nd century), Roman physician[2]:436
  • Hypatia (370–415 CE), mathematician and astronomer, Egypt[1]:137
  • Laïs, midwife[2]:735[6]
  • Lais of Corinth, Ancient Greek physician [7]
  • Lastheneia of Mantinea (5th century BCE), student of Plato
  • Leontium (3rd BCE), Greek philosopher
  • Leoparda (4th century AD), gynecologist
  • Macrina (4th century AD), Greek physician and nun[2]:828
  • Marcella (4th century AD), Roman healer[2]:841
  • Mary the Jewess (1st or 2nd century CE), alchemist[4]:128
  • Melissa (3rd century BCE), Greek philosopher
  • Merit Ptah (c. 2700 BCE), Egyptian physician
  • Metrodora (c. 200–400 AD), Greek physician and author
  • Minucia Asste, Ancient Roman physician [8]
  • Myia (5th century BCE), Greek philosopher
  • Nicerata (c. 5th century), physician and healer
  • Occello of Lucania (4th or 5th century BCE), Greek natural philosopher and mathematician[2]:957
  • Olympias of Thebes (1st century BCE), Greek midwife[2]:962
  • Origenia (2nd century AD), Greek healer[2]:965
  • Pao Ku Ko (3rd-century A.D.), Chinese chemist
  • Paphnutia the Virgin (c. 300), Egyptian alchemist[2]:978
  • Paula (347–404 CE), Roman healer[2]:990
  • Perictione (5th century BCE), Greek philosopher, mother of Plato
  • Panthea, Ancient Greek physician, wife and colleague of Glycon. [9]
  • Philinna of Thessaly, Ancient Greek physician [10]
  • Peseshet Egyptian physician (Fourth Dynasty)
  • Pulcheria (5th century AD), healer[2]:1059
  • Pythias of Assos (4th century BCE), marine zoologist
  • Restituta (1st-century), Ancient Roman physician [11]
  • Salpe of Lesbos, Ancient Greek physician [12]
  • Salpe (1st century BCE), Greek midwife
  • Sotira (1st century BCE), Greek physician[2]:1217–18
  • Tapputi-Belatekallim (First mentioned in a clay tablet dating to 2000 BCE), Babylonian perfumer, the first person in history recorded as using a chemical process[13]
  • Terentia Prima, Ancient Roman physician [14]
  • Theano (6th century BCE), philosopher, mathematician and physician
  • Thelka, Iranian[2]:1278
  • Theosebeia (4th century AD), healer[2]:1278

Middle AgesEdit

Herrad of Landsbert
  • Abella (14th-century), Italian physician[15]
  • Adelle of the Saracens (12th-century), Italian physician
  • Adelmota of Carrara (14th-century), Italian physician
  • Rufaida Al-Aslamia (7th-century), Muslim nurse
  • Maesta Antonia (1386–1408), Florentine physician[15]
  • Ameline la Miresse (fl. 1313–1325), French physician[15]
  • Jeanne d'Ausshure (d. 1366), French surgeon[15]
  • Zulema L'Astròloga (1190-after 1229), Moorish astronomer
  • Brunetta de Siena (fl. 15th-century), Italian-Jewish physician[15]
  • Hildegard of Bingen (1099–1179), German natural philosopher[1]:126
  • Sibyl of Benevento, Napolitan physician specializing in the plague buboes[15]
  • Constanza, Italian surgeon,[16] mentioned in Pope Sixtus IV edict regarding physicians and surgeons.[17]
  • Denice (fl. 1292), French barber-surgeon[15]
  • Demud (fl. ca. 13th century), German physician[18]
  • Dobrodeia of Kiev (fl. 1122), Byzantine physician
  • Dorotea Bucca (fl. 1390), Italian professor of medicine[15]
  • Constance Calenda (15th-century), Italian surgeon specializing in diseases of the eye[19][16]
  • Virdimura of Catania (fl. 1276), Jewish-Sicilian physician[15]
  • Caterina of Florence (fl. 1400s), Florentine physician[15]
  • Jeanne de Cusey (fl. 1438), French barber-surgeon[15]
  • Antonia Daniello (fl. 1400), Florentine-Jewish physician[15]
  • Clarice di Durisio (15th-century), Italian physician
  • Fava of Manosque (fl. 1322), French-Jewish physician[15]
  • Fatima al-Fihri (9th century), born in Tunesia, founder of world's first university in Fez (Morocco)
  • Jacobina Félicie (fl. 1322), Italian physician
  • Francesca, muller de Berenguer Satorra (15th-century), Catalan physician [20]
  • Maria Gallicia (fl. 1309), licensed surgeon[15]
  • Bellayne Gallipapa (fl. 1380), Zaragoza, Spanish-Jewish physician[15]
  • Dolcich Gallipapa (fl. 1384), Leyda, Spanish-Jewish physician[15]
  • Na Pla Gallipapa (fl. 1387), Zaragoza, Spanish-Jewish physician[15]
  • Sarah de St Giles (fl. 1326), French-Jewish physician and medical teacher[15]
  • Alessandra Giliani (fl. 1318), Italian anatomist
  • Rebecca de Guarna (fl. 1200), Italian physician[19][16]
  • Magistra Hersend (fl. 1249–1259), French surgeon
  • Maria Incarnata, Italian surgeon,[16] mentioned in Pope Sixtus IV edict regarding physicians and surgeons.[21]
  • Isabiau la Mergesse (fl. 1292), French-Jewish physician[15]
  • Floreta La-Noga (fl. 1374), Aragonese physician[15]
  • Helvidis (fl. 1176), French physician[15]
  • Keng Hsien-Seng (10th-century), Chinese chemist
  • Li Shao Yun (11th-century), Chinese chemist
  • Stephanie de Lyon (fl. 1265), French physician[15]
  • Guillemette du Luys (fl. 1479), French royal surgeon[15]
  • Thomasia de Mattio, Italian physician,[16] mentioned in Pope Sixtus IV edict regarding physicians and surgeons.[22]
  • Margherita di Napoli (late 14th-century), Napolitan oculist active in Frankfurt-am-Main[15]
  • Mercuriade (14th-century), Italian physician and surgeon[19]
  • Gilette de Narbonne (fl. 1300), French physician[15]
  • Isabella da Ocre, Napolitan surgeon[15]
  • Francisca da Romana, Napolitan physician[15]
  • Dame Péronelle (1292–1319), French herbalist
  • Peretta Peronne, also called Perretta Petone (fl. 1411), French surgeon[15]
  • Lauretta Ponte da Saracena Calabria, Napolitan physician
  • Trota of Salerno (fl. 1090), Italian physician[15]
  • Marguerite Saluzzi (fl. 1460), Napolitan licensed herbalist physician[15]
  • Sara de Sancto Aegidio (fl. 1326), French physician
  • Juana Sarrovia (fl. 1384), Barcelona, Spanish physician[15]
  • Shen Yu Hsiu (15th-century), Chinese chemist
  • Sun Pu-Eh (12th-century), Chinese chemist
  • Raymunda da Taberna, licensed Napolitan surgeon[15]
  • Théophanie (fl. 1291), French barber surgeon[15]
  • Trotta da Toya (f. 1307), Napolitan physician[15]
  • Polisena da Troya (fl. 1335), licensed Napolitan surgeon[15]
  • Margarita da Venosa (fl. 1333), licensed Napolitan surgeon,[15] who studied at the University of Salerno[23] She was considered a noteworthy practitioner and counted Ladislaus, king of Naples, as a patient.[24]
  • Francisca di Vestis (fl. 1308), Napolian physician[15]

16th centuryEdit

Sophie Brahe portrait

17th centuryEdit

Margaret Cavendish

18th centuryEdit

19th centuryEdit




Annie Jump Cannon, 1922 Portrait

Biology or natural historyEdit

Mary Anning


Ida Freund





Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (Ada Lovelace)



Kadambini Ganguly

Nuclear physicsEdit

  • Lise Meitner (1878–1968), Austrian, Swedish, nuclear physicist



Science educationEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Yount 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Ogilvie, Marilyn; Harvey, Joy (2003-12-16). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives From Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781135963439.
  3. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  4. ^ a b Ogilvie 1986
  5. ^ Brown, James Campbell (1920). A History of Chemistry from the Earliest Times. P. Blakiston's Son & Company. pp. 19–24.
  6. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History 28.81–84. Irby-Massie, 'Women in Ancient Science', in Woman's power, man's game: essays on classical antiquity in honor of Joy K. King, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1993. p.366
  7. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  8. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  9. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  10. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  11. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  12. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  13. ^ Gabriele Kass-Simon; Patricia Farnes; Deborah Nash, eds. (1999). Women of science : righting the record (First Midland Book ed.). Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Univ. Press. p. 301. ISBN 9780253208132.
  14. ^ Nathan J. Barnes: Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak L. Whaley: Women and the Practice of Medical Care in Early Modern Europe, 1400–1800
  16. ^ a b c d e Howard 2006
  17. ^ Zahm, J.A. (1913). Woman in Science.
  18. ^ Ogilvie, Marilyn; Harvey, Joy (2000). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science. New York: Routledge. p. 346. ISBN 0415920388.
  19. ^ a b c Walsh 1911
  20. ^ «Diccionari Biogràfic de Dones: Francesca, muller de Berenguer Satorra»
  21. ^ Zahm, J.A. (1913). Woman in Science.
  22. ^ Zahm, J.A. (1913). Woman in Science.
  23. ^ Howard, Sethanne (2007). "SCIENCE HAS NO GENDER: The History of Women in Science". Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 93 (1): 1–15. ISSN 0043-0439.
  24. ^ Zahm, J.A. (1913). Woman in Science.
  25. ^ Hoe, Susanna (2016). "Valletta". Malta: Women, History, Books and Places (PDF). Oxford: Women's History Press (a division of Holo Books). pp. 368–369. ISBN 9780957215351. OCLC 931704918. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Sarah Whiting". CWP.
  27. ^ a b c d e f Rayner-Canham & Rayner-Canham 2001
  28. ^ Rayner-Canham, Marelene; Rayner-Canham, Geoff (23 Feb 2009). "Fight for Rights" (PDF). Chemistry World. 6 (3): 56–59.


External linksEdit