Salute To All Lady Inventors

Everybody in the world is familiar with the great Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, but what about Grace Hopper, Mary Anderson and Shirley Jackson? They may not be popular names, but they are definitely remarkable in their own ways as they’ve made an impact in our lives with their great inventions.

Grace Hopper, the celebrated lady inventor is an ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘the ‘first lady of software’. Hopper is best known for her part in the development of the first all-electronic digital computer. She designed Harvard’s Mark I, a five-ton, room-size machine in 1944. She was a pioneer of computer programming, developing the first compiler that translated written language into computer code and coined the term “bug” and “debugging” when she had to remove moths from the device.

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In Malaysia, there are also notable inventors that have contributed to our lives that many are unaware of.

1. Datuk Dr. Choo Yuen May

Datuk Dr. Choo has practically devoted her whole life solving problems in the palm oil industry. Building up an impressive resume, she filed more than 70 patents, published hundreds of papers and collected more than a hundred national and international honours and awards. Recognised internationally for her pioneering work in the field of palm biodiesel which provides a floor price for palm oil, and the development of novel, efficient and green processes for the palm-based industry. She was bestowed the Merdeka Award, the Knights of the International Order of Merit of Inventor by IFIA (International Federation of Inventors Associations, WIPO gold medal for Best Woman Inventor and Honorary Doctorate of Science by University of South Wales, UK, in 2014.

2. Professor Dr. Arfah Salleh

Professor Dr. Arfah has come a long way from believing that there is nothing left to invent in the world, to patenting an award-winning courseware for teaching accounting, and being the originator and professor of the new paradigm in human governance. She noticed the need for an effective courseware to teach accounting, and in 1994 she commercialised the software she had developed earlier. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants encouraged her to improve on the product and patent it worldwide. She won numerous awards for the product, including the Woman Inventor of the Year Award (2005) from the Geneva based IFIA.

3. Puan Sri Dr. Liana Low

Puan Sri Dr. Liana is one of the country’s foremost champions for palm oil. Her involvement in palm oil started in 1986 when her company purchased its first palm oil mill. She saw the potential of oleochemicals – chemicals derived from edible oils instead of petroleum – as a substitute for petrochemicals in personal care products. She was convinced that natural palm oil will definitely be the least hazardous and thus gentler and healthier on the skin. With her success, she is spearheading the drive to produce renewable energy in the palm oil industry. She has garnered several awards for her pioneering work with oleochemical-based personal care products, including the IFIA Cup for Best Woman Inventor.

4. Dr. Ravigadevi Sambanthamurthi

In recognising the value of phytonutrients being thrown out as waste, Dr. Ravigadevi set out to examine their content in POME. She was amazed at the amount of goodies discovered in the effluent ponds. Together with her team, she found that the palm oil phenolics have potent health and therapeutic benefits. The team developed and refined a proprietary process to extract phenolic products from palm oil mill effluent, and had it patented in the US, Malaysia and Indonesia. She and her colleagues then continued to carry out research at MPOB and with international centres of excellence. The hard work confirmed that palm phenolics have anti-cancer anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective properties. She has won numerous awards, among which are a Knight of the International Order of Merit of Inventors by the IFIA and the Tech Museum Award.

(Source from: MINDS 30th Anniversary Commemorative Book)

The internationally renowned ITEX (International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition) exhibition is poised to celebrate its third decade of being the region’s professional marketplace for ideas and inventions.

Aside from the list of awards and recognitions, ITEX 2019 will be implementing the new awards – Best Female Inventors and Best Invention for Female to recognise lady inventors and inventions for ladies in today’s world. What are you waiting for? Submit and participate with your great inventions NOW!

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