After witnessing rural Indian blackouts, this American teen invented a renewable energy lamp that won the Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge!
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Carolina Maria de Jesus
Brash, funny, and difficult, this mother of three wrote her way out of extreme poverty with her uncompromising look at Brazilian society - and was alternately lauded and berated for it.
Let her leprosy go untreated for years to make herself the perfect spy in the Japan-occupied Philippines - soldiers wouldn't touch her, so she could slip right through.
The only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.
When invaders threatened her island home, she declared herself a living god, raised an army, and fought them tooth, nail, and occasional grenade.
When her brother of this fairytale princess decided to marry her, she warded him off by cutting off her own hands. Then she gave birth to a dog. It got weirder after that.
When terrorists hijacked her plane, she gave her life to save it, becoming the youngest recipient of India's highest honor.
This single mom developed the field of Mexican archaeology, while fiercely protecting it from the sleazy and opportunistic.
Through years of unrelenting protest, this Nigerian teacher felled a king, won women the right to vote, and taught all of Africa how to protest.
A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.
An Inuit woman so strong nobody could even beat her lice in arm-wrestling, her story just gets stranger the closer you look.