Jenny Rosenthal Bramley


Jenny Rosenthal Bramley
Moscow, Russia
Death date
Associated organizations
US Army Signal Corps


IEEE Fellow, 1966, "For achievement in spectroscopy, optics, and mathematical technique and their applications to electronic engineering. " Cited as the "most outstanding woman scientist in the federal government" and as a "trailblazing physicist," Jenny Rosenthal Bramley had successful careers in academia, business, and US Army labs.

Jenny was born on 31 July 1909, in Moscow, the daughter of Lithuanian parents. She received her Sc. B. from the University of Paris in 1926, and her masters degree (1927) and Ph.D. (1929) from New York University, an accomplishment that she achieved at the early age of 19 . Her work is commemorated in the Breit-Rosenthal correction. She has sometimes been called the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics in the United States, however, the New York Times in researching her obituary, discovered that there were twenty-nine women who had earned Ph.D.s in physics prior to Bramley. According to IEEE membership records, she used her maiden name professionally.

After graduation, Jenny worked as a physicist at the US Army Signal Corps Laboratories and Night Vision Lab, was research fellow at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University, formed a consulting firm with her husband, Arthur Bramley, and was professor of physics at the University of Oregon, Eugene.

Fluent in English, Russian, French, and German, Jenny translated many technical articles for publication, and also had extensive experience as a translator at professional meetings. She held patents on electro-luminescent and electro-optical devices. She was only the third woman elected as an IEEE Fellow, and the first elected after the 1963 merger. a distinction that she received in 1966. She was proceeded by AIEE Fellow Edith Clarke and IRE Fellow Grace Hopper. She became an IEEE Life Fellow in 1984.

As a member of the New Jersey branch of the American Association of University Women, Jenny actively promoted enrollment in scientific careers among high-school girls.

Jenny married Arthur Bramley in 1943, and the couple had three children, Alan, Timothy, and Eleanor. She died 26 May 1997 at the age of 87.