This year, we celebrate World Engineering Day (04/03/2023) and International Women’s Day (08/03/23) by honouring Nordic women in STEM. Read more about these fantastic women below.
Margrét Guðmunda Guðnadóttir was a doctor and virologist. She broke down barriers in a male-dominated environment & traveled the world to conduct expert research into polio & diagnosis of viral diseases in humans. Guðnadóttir became the first female professor at the University of Iceland (1969), where she worked for another 30 years. In 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate for her great contribution to virology & the diagnosis of viral diseases.
Read more about Margrét Guðnadóttir on Wikipedia.
Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir
Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir is a Chemical Engineer & a CEO with a Ph.D. from the University of Iceland in Theoretical Chemistry. Much of her research was focused on the sequestration of CO2 into basaltic rock to form stable minerals. The pioneering research she was involved in has attracted large-scale funding. Today she is the
CEO of Carbfix, one of the most advanced technologies in the world to store CO2 permanently.
Read more about Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir and her work here.
Aili Linnea Nurminen
Aili Linnea Nurminen was an Aeronautical Meteorologist and a Finnish aviation meteorology pioneer. In 1955, she became the first woman in the world to receive a doctorate in meteorology. Across Europe, she was famed for her specialist knowledge of fog and cloud conditions. She is regarded as Finland’s first internationally
acclaimed female researcher in the technical sciences.
In her honor, the Finnish Cultural Foundation created the Aili Nurminen Fund to support doctoral research by the country’s women scientists in the fields of physics and meteorology.
Suvi Santala is an Academy Research Fellow & a D.Sc Tech in Biotechnology. She was awarded as having the best technical Ph.D. thesis in Finland in 2015, and her current research received €1.3 million in funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation in 2021. In her research, she is testing the limits of biology by accelerating evolution through synthetic biology. This may soon enable a much more efficient reuse of biowaste.
Inge Lehmann was a Seismologist and a trailblazer for women. She made many scientific advances and discoveries, but she is best known for discovering that Earth has a solid inner core & a molten outer core (1936). Her impact is recognised across the world
in 1995, the American Geophysical Union established the Inge Lehmann Medal for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of the Earth’s mantle and core.”
Fatima AlZahra’a Alatraktchi
Fatima AlZahra’a Alatraktchi is a researcher, entrepreneur, novelist & Engineer. She has won numerous scientific awards, published a novel while in high school, and been on “Forbes 30 most influential people under 30” (2019). She has a Ph.D. in Nanotech & Molecular Biology.
She has developed a groundbreaking method to detect infections by “listening” to the bacteria in our body. This research may enable new effective ways to improve treatment and prevention.
Learn more about her and her research in this TED-talk.
Kristine Elisabeth Heuch Bonnevie
Kristine Elisabeth Heuch Bonnevie was a Biologist. She started school at a time when girls couldn’t attend public schools in Norway. She became the first woman to obtain a Ph.D. in science at a Norwegian university (1906). Bonnevie broke many academic & political glass ceilings, and her research won both national &
international acclaim. She is also fondly remembered for her efforts to promote student welfare & opportunities for female scientists.
Read more about Bonnevie’s research here.
Safina de Klerk
Safina de Klerk is a Chemical & Civic Engineer, Educator, and Science Centre Director. But maybe, most of all, she is an engaged educator. She has been especially active in creating adapted education for gifted STEM students in Norway. Since 2016, de Klerk has been leading a talent centre in STEM for gifted kids. And as of Jan 2023, she is inspiring generations of future Norwegian STEM scientists in her role as Director of the Oslo Science Centre.
Read more about Safina de Klerk’s work for gifted kids here (Norwegian).
Ragnhild Laila Lillemor Ohlgren
Ragnhild Laila Lillemor Ohlgren was a Telecommunications Engineer. She was just 19 when she started working at the Swedish telecom authority Televerket. While working, she also studied for her secondary & engineering qualifications. In 1969, she was working on developing the world’s first fully automated mobile telephony system (NMT). She is credited as the inventor of the single-button dialing function, which was crucial for mobile phone
connections to actually work.
Read more about her invention of the “call button” here.
Isabella Palmgren is a Biotech Engineer. She belongs to a new generation of engineers focusing strongly on green tech & sustainability. She was on the Forbes list of “30 under 30” Europe
for social impact (2021).
In 2017, she co-founded Mimbly, a green-tech company focused on reducing micro-plastic pollution & water waste from laundry. Their products could create a massive reduction in plastics reaching