Advent 2022: 17. Beeminder Server Names: Women in STEM

A change of pace for the Advent Calendar today. This isn’t something you can do with Beeminder, but something nifty about Beeminder.

Most of Beeminder’s servers are named after women famous in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths. Here’s the server names - see how many you recognise!

  • curie
  • elion
  • fisher
  • germain
  • hopper
  • ipsen
  • jemison
  • keller
  • lovelace
  • mirzakhani
  • noether
  • oster
  • pandrosion
  • quinn
  • rice

Below are descriptions of the women, mostly taken from the linked Wikipedia pages. If you would like something that you can do in Beeminder for today’s post, you could beemind reading about these women in detail, or even extend it to other women in STEM.

Curie, Marie - A physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win a Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two scientific fields.

Elion, Gertrude B. - A biochemist and pharmacologist, who shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two others for their use of innovative methods of rational drug design for the development of new drugs. Her work led to the creation of the anti-retroviral drug AZT, the first drug widely used against AIDS. Her well known works also include the development of the first immunosuppressive drug, azathioprine, used to fight rejection in organ transplants, and the first successful antiviral drug, acyclovir (ACV), used in the treatment of herpes infection.

Fisher, Anna Lee - A chemist, emergency physician, and a former NASA astronaut, involved with three major NASA programs: the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and the Orion spacecraft.

Germain, Sophie - A mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. Despite parental and societal opposition, she gained education from her father’s library, including books by Euler, and from correspondence with famous mathematicians. She won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for an essay about elasticity theory. Her work on Fermat’s Last Theorem provided a foundation for mathematicians exploring the subject for hundreds of years after.

Hopper, Grace - A computer scientist, mathematician, and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers. She was the first to devise the theory of machine-independent programming languages, and the FLOW-MATIC programming language she created was later extended to create COBOL. She was part of the team that developed the UNIVAC I computer. She managed the development of one of the first COBOL compilers.

Ipsen, Ilse - A mathematician who works as a professor of mathematics at North Carolina State University. She was formerly associate director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, a joint venture of North Carolina State and other nearby universities.

Jemison, Mae - An engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space, aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. She founded a technology research company. She formed a non-profit educational foundation and is the principal of the 100 Year Starship project. She wrote several books for children and appeared on television several times, including in Star Trek: The Next Generation. She holds several honorary doctorates and has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.

Keller, Mary Kenneth - A Roman Catholic religious sister, educator, and pioneer in computer science. She was the first person to earn a Ph.D. in computer science in the United States. She was one of the first two recipients of computer science doctorates. Today was her birthday (17 December, 1913).

Lovelace, Ada - A mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. She is often regarded as the first computer programmer.

Mirzakhani, Maryam - A mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. Her research topics included Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry. She was honored in Popular Science’s fourth annual “Brilliant 10” in which she was acknowledged as one of the top 10 young minds who have pushed their fields in innovative directions. She was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, becoming the first Iranian to be honored with the award and the first of only two women to date.

Noether, Emmy - A mathematician who made many important contributions to abstract algebra. She discovered Noether’s First and Second Theorem, which are fundamental in mathematical physics. She was described by Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Jean Dieudonné, Hermann Weyl and Norbert Wiener as the most important woman in the history of mathematics. As one of the leading mathematicians of her time, she developed some theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In physics, Noether’s theorem explains the connection between symmetry and conservation laws.

Oster, Emily - An economist and author. She is currently the JJE Goldman Sachs University Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Her research interests span from development economics and health economics to research design and experimental methodology. Her research has received exposure among non-economists through The Wall Street Journal, the book SuperFreakonomics, and her 2007 TED Talk.

Pandrosion of Alexandria - A mathematician in fourth-century-AD Alexandria, discussed in the Mathematical Collection of Pappus of Alexandria and known for developing an approximate method for doubling the cube. Pandrosion is believed by many current scholars to have been female. If so, she would be an earlier female contributor to mathematics than Hypatia.

Quinn, Jennifer - A mathematician specializing in combinatorics, and professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. She sits on the board of governors of the Mathematical Association of America, and is serving as its president for the years 2021 and 2022.

Rice, Marjorie - An amateur mathematician most famous for her discoveries of pentagonal tilings in geometry. Despite having only a high-school education, she devoted her free time to discovering ways to tile a plane using pentagons. She developed her own system of notation to represent the constraints on and relationships between the sides and angles of the pentagons. Her discoveries were declared “fantastic achievements” by Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner.


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She’s the coolest IMO :point_up_2:

Because without her there would be no programming.
And without programming, there would be no Beeminder.



Ada Lovelace is my favourite too! I adore that even though she was a woman in a massively sexist time, she didn’t take any crap from Babbage. :laughing:

I must admit that part of my fondness for her comes from reading the excellent, highly fantastical webcomic by Sydney Padua about her and Babbage. It’s still available online even though it can also be read in a book now.


She’s so awesome! I think she’s my number #0 now.

I also find it incredible that she’s the daughter of Lord Byron.
It’s like a movie; and they’re the main characters.

Also here’s some random trivia I found on Wikipedia:

When Ada was twelve years old, this future “Lady Fairy”, as Charles Babbage affectionately called her, decided she wanted to fly. Ada Byron went about the project methodically, thoughtfully, with imagination and passion. Her first step, in February 1828, was to construct wings. She investigated different material and sizes. She considered various materials for the wings: paper, oilsilk, wires, and feathers. She examined the anatomy of birds to determine the right proportion between the wings and the body. She decided to write a book, Flyology, illustrating, with plates, some of her findings. She decided what equipment she would need; for example, a compass, to “cut across the country by the most direct road”, so that she could surmount mountains, rivers, and valleys. Her final step was to integrate steam with the “art of flying”.[6]