Women’s History Month might be over, but we prefer to celebrate smart, inspiring women every day, which is why we’re psyched to see that today’s Google Doodle is honoring trailblazing female physicist Hedwig Kohn on what would have been her 132nd birthday.
Kohn was born on April 5, 1887 in Breslau (now Wrocław), Poland and became one of only three women certified to teach physics at a German university prior to World War II, according to Time. She was barred from her position during the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany in 1933, and quietly worked behind the scenes in research as a physicist until she was forced to flee in 1940.
According to Forbes, Kohn then traveled to the U.S., where she held teaching positions at the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina, Sweetbriar College in Virginia, and Wellesley College in Massachusetts, staying at Wellesley until 1952. She then took on a research associate position at Duke University in North Carolina, mentoring Ph.D. students and continuing her work with flame spectronomy, which she’d begun when getting her doctorate back in 1912.
Her contributions to the world of physics are vast. She was published in over 20 journals, attained a patent, and contributed to a number of textbooks.
Kohn’s Google Doodle was illustrated by Hamburg-based artist Carolin Löbbert. The design features Kohn in her lab working with electromagnetic radiation and measuring the intensity and spectrum of color in light (which feels like a fitting tribute to such a bright light for women in the sciences). Happy Birthday, Hedwig Kohn!