Why Are So Few Women Chronicled by Historians of Science? One Wrong and Three Right Answers
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Women have contributed to science and technology throughout history. But it often takes specialized skills and new ways of seeing to find the scientific work done by women. Sometimes women were given code names when research was published, a 17th-century strategy to protect their modesty. Sometimes tedious lab work was celebrated as “heroic” when done by men and dismissed as “drudgery” when done by women. Or scientific organizations might divvy up the labor of science, assigning some tasks to women and other tasks to men, and then not talk about the women’s roles—as in the story Hidden Figures. We can recover the history of women in science, and this talk is about why we must do it now.
About the Speaker
Science History Institute research fellow Roger Turner studies the uses of science in managing the environment and—much to his surprise—recently helped make a video game about scientific instruments. Since earning his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, he has taught at Penn, Dickinson College, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Meteorological Society, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. When not exploring archives, he likes to birdwatch along Conodoguinet Creek.