ses 3-1 and 3-2 women in the history of science.docx

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Gender and Women’s Studies
GWS 220
Elizabeth Herron

Monday February 4, 2013- week 3 class 1 Women in the History of Science o Feminism- a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women  Feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.  A feminist is “an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women o Radical feminism  Focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society based on the assertion that male supremacy oppresses society.  Aims to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and oppression of women.  Calls for a radical reordering of society. Women in History of Science o Women likely played a significant role even in pre-history  Cooking- process and tools  Skin processing  Child birth  Medicine o Women have played a much larger role than history has acknowledged o Studying women’s role in history gained importance with the feminist movement as a means of documenting the contribution and value of women scientists Ancient World (6 to 5 BCE) o Pythagorean Women-allowed to study alongside Pythagoras without pre-conceptions  Theano o Married Pythagoras and studied in his school o Led the school after his death with their children o Taught the ethical, mathematical and philosophical ideas of her husband  Arignote o Pythagoras and Theano’s Daughter o Promoted the idea that everything is related to mathematics and through math everything can be predicted or measured th Trotula Plataerius (11 Century AD) o First female professor of medicine at the school in Salerno, Italy o Specialized in gynecology and obstetrics, but also studied dermatology and epilepsy o Wrote a book “On the Conditions of Women” which followed the teachings of Hippocrates, Galen(advanced the field of pathology) and Ibn Al Jazzar (10 century Muslim physician)  Primary text used to treat women’s diseases for the next 500 years Maria Cunitz (1610-1664) o Accomplished Silesian (central Europe-mostly in Poland) astronomer o Authored the “Urania Propitia” written in Latin and German  Provided new tables, new ephemera and a more elegant solution to Kepler’s problem (to determine the position of a planet in its orbit as a function of time) o Daughter of a scientist, she spoke 7 languages, married a lawyer, and upon his death, a doctor. Gabrielle-Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749) o Lived the life of a courtier (French Court) o Studied mathematics seriously at the age of 27, later branched into physics o Had an affair with the philosopher Voltaire who supported her love of science o She is most famous for the first French translation of Isaac Newton’s “Principia” (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) still in use today Mary Somerville (1780-1872) o Scottish science writer o Mathematics and astrostmy o Inheritance from 1 husband allowed her to pursue education in the physical sciences o Succeeded because her intellect allowed her to understand complex ideas AND to translate them for a broader audience Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) o German-British Astronomer o Followed her brother, Sir William Herschelin into astronomy o Developed renown for her dexterity for polishing mirrors and mounting telescopes o First woman to earn a salary for her science work in England o Discovered many comets, including 35P/Herschel-Rigollet Mary Anning (1799-1847) o British fossil collector, dealer and paleontologist, helped to expand the understanding of dinosaurs o Many important finds from the Jurassic marine fossil beds in Dorsey st  1 ichthyosaur skeleton correctly identified  1 pterosaur skeleton outside Germany st  1 plesiosaur skeletons  Her observations led to the recognition that coprolites were fossilized feces o Her low social status prevented her from participating in the scientific community Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) o American Astronomer (distant relative of Ben Franklin) o Her family was Quakers, for its time a community unusual in regard to equality for women, and value for education o Teaching assistant in her father’s school, who taught her astronomy o She discovered Comet 1847 VI, for which she received a gold medal from the King of Denmark o 1 woman member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences (1848) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1850) o 1 professor (male or female) appointed to the faculty of Vassar College Marie Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934) o French-Polish physicist and chemist o Famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity st o 1 woman to win a Nobel Prize o 1 person to win in 2 fields o Both parents were teachers, but as a woman, she had to study at an underground school o She started her career in science in France where she met her husband, Pierre Curie o She encouraged Pierre’s educational pursuit, while she continued her own o She innovated how radiation was studied  Used an electrometer created by Pierre  Measured electrical currents from Uranium  Hypothesized that atoms were responsible- which helped direct future research o She understood how important it was to publish her discoveries in order to establish herself o 1903 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Pierre Curie, Marie Curie and Henri Becquerel with the Nobel Prize “ for their joint researched on the radiation phenomena” o Academy originally planned to not include Marie in the Award, persuaded to by a committee member and advocate of women scientists o Noel Prize resulted in positions at the Sorbonne with a new lab (after complaints by Pierre) o Pierre was hit by a horse-drawn vehicle and died in 1906 o Accomplishments:  Established the Radium Institute (now Curie Institute) within the Pasteur Institute  Developed mobile radiography units (x-ray machines) for WWI surgical hospitals  Became the director of the Red Cross Radiology Survey  Supported women in science, shared her prize money with friends, family and research associates  She died from aplastic anemia contracted from her long exposure to radiation Lise Meitner (1878-1968) o Austrian physicist, one of the 1 women accepted into Austrian universities o Worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics, but as an Austrian Jewish woman working in Germany in the 1910’s, she had to work in the basement and was excluded from activities o Part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, for which her colleague Otto Hahn was award
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