Henrietta Leavitt

They were pioneers in their fields, yet their names are scarcely known – because they were women.  We examine the accomplishments of two women who pioneered code breaking and astronomy during the early years of the twentieth century and did so in the face of social opprobrium and a frequently hostile work environment.

Henrietta Leavitt measured the brightnesses of thousands of stars and discovered a way to gauge the distances to galaxies, a development that soon led to the concept of the Big Bang.

Elizabeth Friedman, originally hired to test whether William Shakespeare really wrote his plays, was soon establishing the science of code breaking, essential to success in the two world wars. 

Also, the tech industry is overwhelmingly male.  Girls Who Code is an initiative to redress the balance by introducing girls to computer programming, and encouraging them to follow careers in tech. 


Part 1: Lauren Gunderson / Henrietta Leavitt
Part 2: Jason Fagone / Elizabeth Friedman
Part 3: Reshma Saujani / Girls Who Code

Descripción en español

Originally aired April 1, 2019