Cathy’s pick of the four most brilliant women
1 Beatrice Shilling
after learning about mechanics by taking apart motorbikes in her garden, beatrice fixed a fatal flaw in the spitfire engine during WWII – without her, we may not have won the battle of britain. Why on earth isn’t she a household name?
2 noor inayat Khan
a british muslim descended from Indian royalty, her story could be out of the pages of a John le Carré novel. noor worked as a spy for britain during the second World War, was killed by the germans, and was posthumously awarded the george Cross.
3 Dina St Johnston
a pioneer of a still male-dominated world – dina founded britain’s first computer software house in 1959. she developed the first real-time customer information systems for railways and airports, making history in her field.
4 Jocelyn Bell Burnell
We’ve all heard of stephen Hawking and his amazing work on black holes, but Jocelyn is the astrophysicist who discovered pulsars, which are rotating stars. Without her we wouldn’t have had the subsequent groundbreaking discoveries of black holes.