Yvonne Brill died on Wednesday at the age of 88. Being an actual rocket scientist, she made incredible contributions to the world we live in and the way we have explored space. But just so you know, she was also a woman, and therefore, her New York Times obituary began like this:
She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said.
But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.
Oh, BTW, she was a rocket scientist who invented a piece of engineering that keeps satellites in place, but first and formost, she was in the kitchen and bedroom and nursery. Sure, they eventually stripped it — without any statement nor apology, naturally — but that doesn’t change how absurd and offensive it was in the first place.
I don’t think it needs to be stated, but no famous male scientist would ever have his obituary start off with the dish he was most famous for making, followed by the dedication to his spouse’s job and, somewhere toward the bottom, had his brilliance illuminated. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of what plenty of your favorite famous men in history are truly significant figures for.