Ireland’s youth choose Ireland’s Greatest Woman Inventor: Dorothy Stopford Price

16 Sep 2013

Physician Dorothy Stopford Price, who has been voted Ireland's Greatest Woman Inventor. Photo via Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage Centre Blog

After a summer-long campaign, 12 to 18-year-olds in the Republic of Ireland have voted physician and tuberculosis (TB) fighter Dorothy Stopford Price as Ireland’s Greatest Woman Inventor.

Dublin-born Stopford Price received 27.68pc of the votes, putting her ahead of the other nine finalists in’s Ireland’s Greatest Woman Inventor competition. One of those votes came from 16-year-old Eimear Donovan, from Listowel, Co Kerry, who has been chosen at random as the grand-prize winner of the competition.

As a result, Eimear will be off to NASA’s Space Centre Houston and Intel Museum in Silicon Valley, and she will also spend two days in San Francisco, California, with a parent/guardian, and a friend or other family member.

Eimear has something in common with Stopford Price: an interest in science. Stopford Price used her scientific knowledge to make a huge contribution to controlling TB in Ireland.

A TB vaccine is implemented

Despite a lot of opposition in the 1930s, Stopford Price experimented with the BCG vaccine – a live weakened strain of the TB bacterium, Mycobacterium bovis – in the days before antibiotics. It took 10 years to convince the establishment, but widespread vaccination finally began in the late 1940s.

The second most voted for finalist in the Ireland’s Greatest Woman Inventor competition is Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, who attracted 22.51pc of the votes. The mathematician was one of the world’s first computer programmers. She was also an ENIAC woman in the 1940s when, to be a programmer, you also needed to be a talented engineer who understood how the complex early computers worked.

In third place with 12.55pc of the votes is aviator Lilian Bland. She was the first woman to build a plane, and she successfully flew her Mayfly in 1910. As well as being an early aeronautical engineer, she was also a sports journalist, markswoman, and martial arts practitioner.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology,engineering and maths

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic