Inventors are inspirational. Yvonne was an inventor, engineer, and rocket scientist. She is remembered for her development of rocket and jet technology. She invented a more efficient thruster to keep satellites in orbit.
Yvonne Madalaine Claeys was born on December 30, 1924 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Following high school, she attended the University of Manitoba. She wanted to pursue engineering, however could not because she was female. She instead studied chemistry and mathematics. She graduated at the top of her class in 1945. She then moved to California to attend the University of Southern California. Her future husband attended nearby UCLA and she met him there. She became Yvonne Brill. She received her master’s in chemistry from USC in 1951. She was hired by Douglas Aircraft to help create designs for an American satellite in space. She was the only woman in America doing research in the field of rocket science.
She moved east with her husband and took time off work when their three children were babies and toddlers. She returned to work in 1966 at RCA’s rocket subsidiary. She developed the industry standard thruster. She received a patent for the hydrazine resistojet propulsion system in 1967. She later was part of the team that developed the Nova rockets, Tiros weather satellite, the Atmosphere Explorer, and the Mars Observer satellite. In 1981, she worked for NASA she contributed to the development of a rocket engine for the space shuttle.
Yvonne Brill has received multiple awards and honors. She worked with and received honors from NASA and The Society of Women Engineers, as well as, other organizations. In 2010, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented her with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Honors continue to be given in her name.
Yvonne Brill got breast cancer. She died from complications of breast cancer on March 27, 2013 in Princeton, New Jersey. She had achieved much for science and her career. Be inspired! Have a bright day!