June is Pride Month, observed in the United States since 1970. At JerseySTEM, we see this as the ideal time to celebrate the historic contributions made to STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) by people of the LGBTQ+ community.
As far back as antiquity, LGBTQ+ thinkers have been solving nature’s riddles and challenging scientific thought with mighty feats of engineering. During the Renaissance, Italy’s polymath Leonardo da Vinci, painter of The Mona Lisa, gifted humanity with scientific forethought. His artistic talents are rarely in dispute, “but he also drew sketches of helicopters and other flying machines hundreds of years before the Wright Brothers built the world’s first airplane.” And, according to the National Air and Space Museum, his sketches helped build the foundations for aviation research and realization.
Another important LGBTQ+ STEM icon was Alan Turing – a British mathematician who made major contributions to cryptanalysis, logic, and more; which fed into later developments in computer, cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) sciences.
Other incredible contributions by members of the LGBTQ+ community have been made by:
- Sally Ride – astronaut and the first American woman to fly in space
- Lily and Lana Wachowski – transgender filmmakers who have created science fiction masterworks like The Matrix, Sense8 and V for Vendetta.
- George Washington Carver – chemist and botanist who developed plants that have helped poor farmers
- Robert D. Macpherson and Mark Goresky – mathematicians and fathers of a new theory, intersection homology
- Sara Josephine Baker – American physician and pioneer of public health
The list goes on and on. Whether it’s chemistry, math, health, aviation or good old-fashioned imagination, members of the LGBTQ+ community have bestowed important and lasting gifts upon the world of STEM.
Please join JerseySTEM in honoring Pride Month this and every day not just June!