Meet 19 Indian Women Scientists Whose Inventions Have Helped India Grow


From being a minority, women in science now hold the most crucial positions in previously unattainable fields. From Nobel Prizes to NASA leadership, women scientists have made history.

As we celebrate National Science Day on February 28, let’s honour and appreciate the outstanding achievements of Indian women scientists who have played a vital role in defining the scientific landscape of our country.

These pioneering women have broken through glass barriers and made ground-breaking contributions that have moved India forward in a world where gender roles in science are continuously altering.

Keep reading to look more in-depth at the remarkable Indian women scientists who have been active over the years.

Here is a list of Indian women scientists who have contributed to STEM fields and are role models for young women:

1. Kadambini Ganguly (1861-1923)

Kadambini Ganguly

The first Indian woman to get admission to Calcutta Medical College (1884) became India’s first female doctor and practitioner (1886) of Western medicine in the whole of South Asia.

2. Mary Poonen Lukose (1886-1976)

Mary Poonen Lukose

The first female surgeon general in India (1938). She became the first female obstetrician in India.

3. Bibha Chowdhary (1913-1991)

Bibha Chowdhary

She was the first woman high-energy physicist in India and the first woman scientist at the TIFR in 1948. The International Astronomical Union honoured her by naming a white-yellow dwarf star after her name.

4. Edavaleth Kakkat Janaki Ammal (1897-1984)

Edavaleth Kakkat Janaki Ammal

Renowned botanists and plant cytologists made significant contributions to genetics, evolution, phytogeography and ethnobotany. First Director of the Central Botanical Laboratory at Allahabad, 1952.

5. Kamala Sohonie (1911-1998)

Kamala Sohonie

She was the first Indian woman to receive a PhD in a scientific discipline. She discovered the enzyme ‘Cytochrome C’, which plays an essential role in the electron transport chain occurring in plants, human and animal cells for energy synthesis.

6. Asima Chatterjee (1917-2006)

Asima Chatterjee

She was the first woman to be awarded a Doctor of Science by an Indian university (Calcutta) in 1944. She was the first woman to be elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress.

7. Ketayun Ardeshir Dinshaw (1943 – 2011)

Ketayun Ardeshir Dinshaw

She was a prominent personality in the field of Indian medicine and was also awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 for her contribution to the evolution of modern cancer treatment and radiation therapy.

8. Archana Bhattacharyya (1948)

Archana Bhattacharyya

First woman director of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, DST. She specialises in the fields of ionospheric physics, geomagnetism, and space weather.

9. Sujatha Ramdorai (1962)

Sujatha Ramdorai

Ramdorai is a professor of mathematics and the first Indian mathematician to win the prestigious ICTP Ramanujan Prize (2006) and Padma Shri (2023).

10. Tessy Thomas (1963)

Renu Swaroop

The first woman scientist to head a missile project in India as project director for Agni-IV missile and working as a Director General of Aeronautical Systems, DRDO

11. Renu Swaroop (1957)

Tessy Thomas

Dr. Swarup is an Indian geneticist and head of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology. She actively established India’s largest microbial resource centre, Microbial Culture Collection. The National Centre for Cell Science also named a recently discovered microbial species, Natrialba swarupiae in her honour.

12. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay (1968)

Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

First woman computer scientist & director of the Indian Statistical Institute. And a Padmashri (2022) Infosys prize in 2017.

13. Soumya Swaminathan (1959)

Soumya Swaminathan

First Indian to become WHO’s Deputy Director General, and also its first chief scientist. She is an Indian paediatrician and clinical scientist known for her research on tuberculosis and HIV.

14. Aditi Sen De (1974)

Aditi Sen De

She was the first female physicist awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 2018. Aditi Sen De is an Indian scientist, and a professor in the quantum information and computation group at the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad.

15. Gagandeep Kang (1962)

Gagandeep Kang

The first Indian woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, also received the Infosys Prize (2016) for her scientific career

16. Neena Gupta (1984)

Neena Gupta

She is the youngest person to ever receive the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, at the age of 35. Neena Gupta is a professor at the Statistics and Mathematics unit of the Indian Statistical Institute. Recently honoured with the TWAS-CAS Young Scientist Award in Mathematics/ AI in 2023.

17. GC Anupama

GC Anupama

Dr. Anupama, Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Astrophysics Dean and senior professor, is the first woman president of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI) in 2019.

18. Chandrima Saha (1952)

Chandrima Saha

First woman president of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) as an Indian biologist. She received her recent award in 2023, the Dr. SP Ray-Chaudhuri Memorial Lecture Award India.

19. Jyotirmayee Dash

Jyotirmayee Dash

A professor at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jyotirmayee Dash researches organic chemistry and chemical biology. She is the youngest woman scientist to receive the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Chemical Sciences.

Proudly Indians

The narrative of women in science has evolved from being a minority to holding pivotal positions in previously unattainable fields, from awards to leadership roles in prestigious organisations.

Let’s recognise and appreciate the groundbreaking contributions of these Indian women scientists who serve as inspiring role models for young women.


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