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11F 2024 - International Day of Women and Girls in Science

13 de febrero de 2024

On the occasion of February 11th, International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Embassy of Spain in Vienna has launched a campaign in Spanish and English in its digital communication channels with the aim of promoting gender equality and recognizing the work of women scientists. 

In this way, the life and work of women scientists who have marked the history of science in Austria and Spain has been commemorated through illustrations and references to their biographies, published on Twitter and Facebook profiles and in the News section of the Embassy's website. The women scientists selected for this campaign are:

Margarita Salas_EN.png
Margarita Salas Falgueras (Canero, Asturias, November 30, 1938-Madrid, November 7, 2019) was a prominent Spanish biochemist. A graduate in Chemical Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid, she collaborated with Severo Ochoa in the United States and Alberto Sols in Madrid. Her scientific contributions include the determination of the directionality of gene reading and the discovery and characterization of the DNA polymerase of phage Φ29 (DNA synthesizing enzyme derived from bacteriophage Φ29), which has multiple biotechnological applications due to its very high DNA amplification capacity. He worked at the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center in Madrid, where he continued his research on the bacteriophage virus Φ29. Salas belonged to prestigious scientific societies, received multiple awards, directed the Instituto de España (an organization that groups all the Spanish Royal Academies) and presided over the Severo Ochoa Foundation. In addition, she was the first Spanish woman to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States in 2007. Her legacy includes important discoveries in genetics and biotechnology.

Hedy Lamarr_EN.pngHedy Lamarr (Vienna, November 9, 1914-Casselberry, Florida, January 19, 2000) whose original name was Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was an Austrian film actress and inventor whose great contribution to science is related to the field of wireless communications. As an actress she achieved considerable professional success in Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s and will be remembered for being the first full female nude in a commercial film. 
Early in World War II Hedy Lamarr devised, developed and patented a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes. This system used frequency-hopping spread spectrum in order to overcome the threat of interference from enemy powers. Although the U.S. Navy did not adopt this technology until the 1960s with the Cuban missile crisis.  The principles established in his work were integrated into Bluetooth technology and bear similarity to the methods employed in Wi-Fi and mobile networks. In 2014, Lamarr was posthumously inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

María Blasco_EN.png
María Blasco Marhuenda (Alicante, July 1965) graduated in 1989 in Biological Sciences from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. In 1993 she obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa" (CSIC-UAM) under the supervision of Margarita Salas. In the same year she obtained her PhD she joined the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York as a postdoctoral fellow, where she worked under the supervision of the Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Carol W. Greider. During her time as a postdoctoral researcher, Blasco succeeded in isolating one of the essential telomerase genes and created the mouse phenotype without this gene. This milestone demonstrated the importance of telomerase in telomere maintenance, chromosomal instability and associated diseases.
In 1997, María A. Blasco returned to Spain to lead a research group at the National Center for Biotechnology. Then, in 2003, she joined the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), where she headed the Telomeres and Telomerase Group and assumed the position of director of the Molecular Oncology Program. Since June 2011, she has been in charge of this center. 

Hilda Geiringer_EN.pngHilda Geiringer (Vienna September 28, 1893 - California March 22, 1973) was an Austrian mathematician. A pioneer of applied mathematics, she studied mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna. She obtained her PhD in mathematics in 1917 with a thesis in which she dealt with advanced trigonometry and developed a generalized theory for a Fourier series in two variables. At the age of 34 she became the first woman to receive an academic appointment in mathematics at a German university (University of Berlin) and at the age of 37 she developed the differential equations, named after her, that determined plastic deformation in metals and are still used in engineering today. With the rise of Nazism in Europe, Geiringer, of Jewish origin, had to flee and after many complications managed to reach the United States. There she was only able to find jobs in universities for women and never achieved the professional status she had in Germany.

Josefina Castellví_EN.pngJosefina Castellví Piulachs (Barcelona, July 1, 1935) showed from an early age an interest in marine biology. After studying biology at the University of Barcelona and specializing at the Sorbonne in Paris in marine microbial research, in 1960 she joined the Institute of Fisheries Research in Barcelona, where she became an expert in marine bacteria and microalgae. Despite the difficulties and gender discrimination she faced in her early years, she persisted in her passion and stood out as a top scientific manager.
Her dedication and effort took her to Antarctica in 1984, becoming the first woman to lead a scientific base on that continent. Her leadership and determination were fundamental in convincing the authorities of the importance of establishing a Spanish base in Antarctica, which finally materialized with the installation of the Juan Carlos I base in 1987-1988. Throughout her career she contributed not only to scientific research, but also to opening paths for women in science and spreading the importance of Antarctica for the knowledge of the ocean.

Pascale Ehrenfreund_EN.png
Pascale Ehrenfreund (Vienna, June 24, 1960) is an Austrian astrobiologist. An astrobiologist by training and PhD in astrophysics, Ehrenfreund has contributed for three decades as principal investigator, co-investigator and team leader to ESA and NASA astronomical and planetary missions, as well as experiments in low Earth orbit and on the International Space Station.
She is currently president of the International Space University in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France and a research professor of space policy and international affairs at the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University in Washington DC. The asteroid "9826 Ehrenfreund 2114 T-3" is named after her.

Felisa Martín_EN.png
Felisa Martín Bravo (San Sebastián, June 11, 1898 - Madrid, October 29, 1979)
In 1922, she obtained her degree in Physics at the University of Madrid and joined the research group of physicist Julio Palacios at the Laboratory of Physical Research (LIF). She was the first woman researcher at LIF and also the first to obtain a PhD in Physics in the country, an achievement she reached in 1926 with a thesis on X-ray diffraction to analyze crystalline structures.
In 1929, she joined the State Meteorological Agency, being the first woman to be part of it until 1935. She continued her research with Julio Palacios at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Central University of Madrid. In 1932, she moved to Cambridge University to do research in X-ray spectrography and atmospheric sounding.
In 1937, she became director of the Igeldo Meteorological Observatory. After the Spanish Civil War, she was readmitted to the State Meteorological Agency and became the only woman meteorologist until 1960, being one of the few non-military positions in the institution. She continued to work in meteorology until her retirement.

Alexandra Adler_EN.png
Alexandra Adler (September 24, 1901, Vienna - January 4, 2001, New York) Austrian neurologist. Her father, Alfred Adler, was a founding figure in psychoanalysis alongside Freud and Jung. After completing his medical studies at the University of Vienna in 1926, Adler specialized in psychiatry and moved to the United States in 1935. In this country she took up a position as an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. Later in 1938 she became medical director of the Alfred Adler Clinic in New York, and from 1946 she joined the department of psychiatry at New York University Medical School, where she became a professor in 1969. Alexandra Adler's main contribution to the field of neuroscience is the study of post-traumatic stress. She is also considered one of the greatest experts in the work done by her father, in fields related to child education or on the borderline between neurosis and psychosis, which s​he systematized and catalogued, creating the so-called "Adlerian techniques" to treat neurological problems, such as schizophrenia, neurosis and personality disorders. 

We encourage you to visit and share the contents of this campaign from the official profiles of the Spanish Embassy in Austria on TwitterSe abre en ventana nueva and Facebook.