LGBTQ+ in STEM Day: LGBTQ Scientists Who Changed Science

LGBTQ Scientists Who Changed Science

To mark LGBTQ+ in STEM Day Research center Observatory of the Institute for the Future of Education highlighted LGBTQ scientists who have changed science forever.

According to the charity fund Pride in STEM, 28% of LGBTQ+ people have considered abandoning their jobs in scientific production due to a hostile work environment and 20% of trans people. This alone is enough of a reason to highlight LGBTQ+ people in STEM. To mark LGBTQ+ in STEM Day, Research center Observatory of the Institute for the Future of Education has listed the 4 LGBTQ+ scientists who have changed science forever.

Alan Turing: The great codebreaker

Also called the father of artificial intelligence, Turing was responsible for extraordinary contributions to the effort of the Allies during World War II and the advancement of science. One of his most outstanding achievements was creating the electromechanical device Bombe, conceived and built to crack the Enigma code, a high German cipher for Nazi military communications. Thanks to this, the Allies could preempt various German strategies during the conflict, crucial to Germany’s defeat in 1945. The ingenious machine was also a precursor to the digital electronic programmable computer.

Ben Barres: neuroscience researcher

In collaboration with various scientists and academicians, Barres made discoveries that revolutionized the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and embolism. According to his results, what motivates these disorders is how glial cells, the cells on which his study focused,  reverse their process, switching from nourishing neurons to destroying them. This epistemic advance potentiates the development of medical care that could save millions of lives in the near future. Dr. Barres died in 2017 from cancer.

Lyn Conway: computer science expert

This was the case of Lyn Conway, a computer science expert, electrical engineer, inventor, and transgender woman who, after a process of transition, had a sex change operation. One of the most fundamental was the generalized dynamic instruction handling, a vital resource for increasing the performance of computer processors. In addition to this, she developed large-scale integration chips (VLSI) and textbooks on designing them. She was fired by IBM after they told her they would support her. Activism for transgender rights and education became second nature to her in the wake of this event.

The international annual celebration LGBTQ+ in STEM Day moved this year from July to November 18 in order to align with the date of another significant event, namely, the 60th anniversary of the judicial fight in the U.S. courts of the astronomer and activist Frank Kameny to regain his right to work, having been retired due to homophobic discrimination.