Ada Byron Lovelace (1815-1852) is considered to have written the first computer program in the mid-1800s. Many years later, the U.S. Navy named the computer language Ada in her honor.
Martha Coston’s (1826-1904) flares were used extensively during the Civil War after the Navy bought the patent from her for $20,000. Ships signaled each other used the multi-colored Coston flares.
Margaret Knight (1838-1914) patented paper-bag-folding machines to make square-bottom bags (the grocery bag).
Mary Jane Montgomery was an inveterate inventor called the only professional woman inventor by Scientific American. This patent is for improved locomotive wheels.
*Harriet Strong’s (1844-1926) water conservation and water storage inventions helped make Southern California the agricultural powerhouse that it is today. She was known as the "Walnut Queen."
Mary Anderson (1866-1953) got her patent in 1903 for what we know today as the windshield wiper.
Edith Clarke (1883-1959), the first female electrical engineering professor in the U.S., invented a graphing calculator and wrote the textbook used for electric circuit analysis.
One of the first uses of Katharine Blodgett's (1898-1979) invention of non-reflective glass was for the movie camera lenses used to film Gone with the Wind. Laptops and smartphones use it today.
Maria Telkes’ (1900-1995) passion was solar energy. Among her inventions was the solar distiller and the first solar-powered heating systems for homes.
Irmgard Flugge-Lotz (1903-1974), known internationally for her contributions to aerodynamics and automatic theory control, was the first woman full professor at Stanford University.
*Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) developed the computer compiler - the computer software that lets us speak to computers in our languages. She loved to take credit for finding the first computer bug (a moth).
In addition to being a beautiful movie star, Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) invented a key technology used in cell phones (using her real name - Hedy Kiesler Markey).
The first president of the Society of Women Engineers, *Beatrice Hicks (1919-1969) invented a gas density sensor that protects electronic and aerospace equipment.
Rocket scientist Yvonne Brill (1924-2013) invented the propulsion system used to keep all communication satellites aloft. She was also a strong advocate for women in engineering.
Anne Chiang (1942- ) is best known for her work in thin-film transistor technology and polysilicon coatings. Today’s flat-panel-display computers are a direct result of her work.
The holder of over 40 patents, Kristina Johnson (1957- ) co-invented the technology known as RealD 3D used in almost all 3-D movies currently made. It was used for the first time for Avatar.
Former astronaut and current director of the Johnson Space Center, Ellen Ochoa (1958- ) holds patents involving optical analysis systems.
One of the youngest Americans to receive a patent, (as a preteen) Becky Schroeder (1962- ) invented an illuminated writing board so she could do her homework in the car when it was dark outside.
Helen Greiner (1967- ) co-founded iRobot Corporation the maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner robot as well as robots that disarm landmines, serve in hospitals and work in nuclear power plants.
Jill S. Tietjen, P.E., Co-author, Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America, www.herstoryatimeline.com
* Indicates an Inductee into the National Women's Hall of Fame.