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Hertha Marks Ayrton
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Scientist
    (April 28, 1854-August 23, 1923)
    Born in Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    British scientist, engineer, and inventor
    Real name: Phoebe Sarah Marks
    Winner of the 1906 Hughes Medal from The Royal Society
    Most well known for her studies of the electric arc and remarkable inventions
    Major published works included; "The Uses of a Line Divider," (1885) "The Mechanism of the Electric Arc," (1902) "On the Non-Periodic and Residual Motion of Water Moving in a Stationary Waves," (1908) "The Origin and Growth of Ripple-Mark," (1910) "Local Differences of Pressure Near an Obstacle in Oscillating Water," (1915) and in 1919 "On a New Method of Driving Off Poison Gases,"
    BS from the College of London
    Jewish/Agnostic
    She reportedly could be quite vulgar.
    She changed her name in honor of the heroine of the <13109>Swinburne>/13109> poem criticizing religion.
    Born and raised Jewish, she became an Agnostic as an adult. As amiannoying says - 'Pick a side already!'
    She married one of her college teachers.
    She studied ripples in the sand.
    Although she was a skilled mathematician, she was really much more of an inventor/engineer than a pure mathematician.
    Despite the whole studying ripples in the sand thing, she was generally far more interested in practical inventions than abstract theoretical thought.
    One of her biographers wrote, 'Her many solutions indicate without a doubt that she possessed a remarkable geometric insight and was a clever student of mathematics.'
    She lost her father when she was only seven and spent much of the rest of her youth taking care of her younger brothers and sisters and supporting them financially through teaching and sewing.
    She was a governess at age sixteen and taught elementary and high school and college at various times in her life.
    Although she completed her studies at Cambridge, they refused to grant a degree to a woman so she sat through an exam at the College of London after which they granted her a degree.
    She was awarded twenty-six patents, all in scientific or engineering fields.
    She was the first female member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the only one for almost sixty years.
    Although The Royal Society awarded her the Hughes Medal for her work on the electric arc, they refused to allow her, a woman to present her paper to them and instead had a man do it.
    She is the namesake of the Hertha Ayrton Fellowship at Cambridge.
    She created a type of fan to defend against poisonous gas attacks but government laziness and indifference kept the English and Allied forces from adopting it before the end of WWI although one English general bought 100,000 units out of his own pocket for his troops to use.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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