A 2004 PBS documentary highlighted the role that Albert Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric, may have played in the development of his theories of relativity, quantum physics, and Brownian motion. He doesn't even mention her in his own stories about his life. Was she the brain behind the scenes, his silent collaborator?
Women have been in the forefront of the modern environmentalist movement. Rachel Carson and Wangari Maathai are two prominent women environmentalists -- one a writer whose book, Silent Spring, sparked the movement that started Earth Day (April 22), and the other an activist who founded the Green Belt movement in Africa and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
"There is no reason why the aeroplane should not open up a fruitful occupation for women. I see no reason they cannot realize handsome incomes by carrying passengers between adjacent towns, from parcel delivery, taking photographs or conducting schools of flying. Any of these things it is now possible to do." (Harriet Quimby, about 1911)
Harriet Quimby's career as a pilot lasted only eleven months, but she managed to set a few records in that time. She was the first American woman to earn a pilot's license, and the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel, the latter on April 16, 1911.
She's not as well known as her sister, Lucretia Mott, but Martha Coffin Wright was an abolitionist (her daughter married the son of abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison) and an early women's rights advocate. Contributed by the author of an upcoming biography of Martha Coffin Wright, James D. Livingston.