Today’s the day to flex your muscles — your brain muscles, that is. It’s October 22nd: Smart is Cool Day! Smart is cool every day, of course, but today’s the day when we celebrate knowledge and our super rad brains. Shout every random fact you know from the rooftops! Play Trivia Crack every hour! Read all the books!
On this day of smarts, it only seems right to celebrate a few awesome women who flex their incredible brain muscles every single day of the year. Naturally, the world is filled with billions of brilliant women, but these are just a few of the smart ladies we’re totally obsessed with today.
Marilyn vos Savant — record holder for highest IQ
On Smart is Cool Day, we’ve gotta start with the smartest woman in the world, right? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Marilyn was listed with the highest IQ in the entire world for five years under both the childhood and adult categories.
Though Guinness has since retired the IQ category after determining that it wasn’t reliable enough, there’s no doubting that Marilyn has got some SERIOUS brains: She was named one of 50 “Women of the New Millennium” by the White House Vital Voices: Women in Democracy campaign, she’s a winner of a “Women Making History” award from the National Women’s History Museum, and she’s the recipient of honorary Doctorates of Letters. Go Marilyn!
Linda B. Buck — Biologist
Did you know that scientists didn’t really know how the sense of smell worked until 1991? Yeah, Linda’s research changed that by illuminating the olfactory system and how it functions. She and her research partner, Richard Axel, were then able to clone olfactory receptors and figure out how smell works in all mammals, winning her the Nobel Prize in 2004.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw — Entrepreneur
Kiran made the Forbes Most Powerful Women list this year as the founder of Biocon, India’s largest biopharmaceutical company. It may have just been a small company in 1978 when she first founded it, but now it distributes in 85 countries all over the world and made $460 billion in revenue last year.
Clearly, it takes a ton of smarts to create something so massive from scratch in less than four decades, but on top of that, Kiran won the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Othmer Gold Medal and Germany’s Keihl Institute Global Economy Prize. Oh, and she runs philanthropic initiatives and founded a 1,400-bed cancer center dedicated to providing care to all patients, no matter their income or social standing. NBD.
Marina Rustow — Historian
She’s a professor at Princeton; she has a PhD from Columbia; and she is dedicating her research, writing, and life’s work to using the famous and historical Cairo Geniza texts to understand more fully Jewish life and medieval society in the Middle East. Just this year Marina was named a fellow by the MacArthur Foundation. In their short bio on Marina they wrote, “Deploying her considerable prowess in languages, social history, and papyrology, Rustow is rewriting our understanding of medieval Jewish life and transforming the historical study of the Fatimid empire.” Again, NBD.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi — Virologist
The reason we even know about the HIV virus is because of Françoise, who discovered it in 1983. Just five years later, she had her own research laboratory and was studying the virus full-time, which lead her to discover the virus’s connection to AIDS and the ways by which it spreads. She won the Nobel Prize for her work in 2008.
Judy Faulkner — Founder and CEO of Epic Systems
Judy also landed the Forbes Most Powerful Women list this year as the founder of Epic Systems, a company that sells healthcare software and made $1.8 billion in revenue last year. Now, over half of the people living in the United States have medical information that’s stored in her company’s software. Judy is making a huge difference in the world in multiple ways. . . including her pledge to transfer her Epic shares to a foundation that is dedicated to health care-related causes.
May-Britt Moser — Psychologist and neuroscientist
How do we know where we are, right at this moment? Just last year, May-Britt won a Nobel for her work on the brain — specifically, its positioning system, which is crucial for humans and animals to figure out their own location and how to get to other places. According to the Nobel official site, May-Britt, “discovered a type of cell that is important for determining position close to the hippocampus, an area located in the center of the brain.” She did this with her partner, Edvard Moser, by testing rats:
Elizabeth Holmes — Entrepreneur
Elizabeth Holmes is yet another brainy lady who made the Forbes Most Powerful Women list in 2014. Elizabeth, who is the founder and CEO of blood-testing company Theranos, also happens to be the world’s youngest woman self-made billionaire. Initially, she was motivated to detect diseases earlier when her uncle passed away from cancer. So she dropped out of Stanford to start Theranos, which has changed millions of lives.
What would the world do without women? SERIOUSLY. Happy Smart is Cool day, brainiacs!
(Images via Twitter.)