Look at the size of that woman's cranium!
Marie Curie has topped a poll to name the most notable female scientist of all time, beating Brit biophysicist Rosalind Franklin into second spot. Polish-born Curie, later a French citizen, is celebrated for her part in the discovery of polonium and radium, as well as pioneering work in the treatment of cancers using …
I thouroughly endorse this campaign (There, I've even broken my own rule and added an icon). Women have made incredible contributions to science in the past and it is terrible that it is still seen as a male pursuit. The search for knowledge is a human trait and, if we're honest, girls are probably even better at it than us boys.
On which note I leave you with a write-in vote of my own. Mary Anning. Incredible woman who was respected for her achievments despite being a woman doing "man's work".
... there are (were?) so few to choose from.
Ask any slice of the british public - outside a university town, to name a woman scientist and hers would probably be the only one that "the man in the street" could come up with. Leaving aside all the fictional ones and the science presenters (many of whom have more than adequate scientific qualifications) the field is remarkably small.
However if you asked the same MitS to name any 2 male scientists, I would expect the overwhelming answer to be Einstein, followed after along pause by "that guy in the wheelchair? yooooo know - wassis name?".
Heldly Lamar "No NO NOOO HEDDY Lamar!" (Mel Brooks "Blazing Saddles)
...but seriously, Heddy Lamar was an incredible electrical engineer.
Caroline Herschel who did much of the mathematics to support William's astronomical observations.
I'm sure there are more but I'll let others chime in
(the icon? For the Saddles of course :-) )
Rubbish top 10.
What about Grace Brewster Murray? Pivotal mathematician and developer of COBOL, inventor of the compiler, forerunner of Mathematica and a rear admiral in the Navy.
Definite heroine of mine - (if not number one of all time), as an electonics engineer myself.
As a quote of a quote - she believed that "we've always done it that way" was not necessarily a good reason to continue to do so.
Unorthodox and inspirational. Check out her CV. It's like War & Peace.
"The company's Grita Loebsack"...
If "loebsack" is the new bulgarian airbag, is a "grita" one particularly abrasive, or just the French wording of the standard measurement of abrasive materials?!
Yes, I know... Ms. Bee is sending me to be... abraided... appropriately. Unless she thinks I will like it too much. :) ... Hence the icon, eh?
She deserves her place, but not in top science. Proper science - nature science - is about fundamentally explaining how our universe works.
Computer science is, as a lecturer pointed out to me many, many years ago a branch of engineering; that is engineering science. It makes our world work better - it doesn't explain it. In fact Grace Hopper had more to do with project management than anything else. She steered through one of the first real international standards, even if what came out was a language which was exquisitely ugly and mundane. That was the style of the day - Fortran was of the same era, and another vocational language of plodding inelegance.
Nope - they got it right. Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin (for those believing in French conspiracies, the latter also worked in Paris for several years). Rosalind Franklin was much maligned by James Watson, an unpleasant character who engaged in what was a posthumous character assassination of her in his book, The Double Helix. Both appear to have been killed by dallying with ionising radiation. I rather wish I'd have met Rosalind Franklin - I think I would have been very intimidated.
Real Computer Science is a real science and explains the fundamental limitations to sorting efficiency, compiler theory etc. Turing et al. (he could half get this prize).
It's just that real computer computer science is not taught.
Learning to program at university might be carried out by the computer science faculty, but that does not make it computer science. Computer science, as taught at universities, should really be an engineering discipline (ie. computer engineering or software engineering).
As Pete 2 touched on without actually saying, the problem isn't so much that female scientists are undervalued, but that *all* scientists are undervalued. Managers get the fat paycheques, whilst the folks who actually achieved stuff get not a right lot. And yes, play the name-a-scientist game with anyone in the street and you'd be lucky to get more than Einstein.
Added to which, the real irony is how pointless this poll is. Science and engineering is the one area of society with the *least* discrimination, and always has been. Amongst fellow geeks, raw talent and ability to apply that talent have always been more highly valued than what you look like and how you behave, so all these competitions for "top female scientist" or "woman engineer of the year" are utterly pointless. Sure, there are less women in engineering, but it's not because the guys are discriminating against them - it's because less women *want* to do it. Straight men are massively under-represented in the fashion business, but I don't see people setting up "straight male fashion designer of the year" competitions. Ditto male nurses, or male physiotherapists. If you want to do something, you'll do it - if you don't want to do it (or have no natural talent for it), then some poll of "top female whatever-job" isn't going to help.
> it's because less women *want* to do it
Yes, but why is that? It's partly cultural. If you go to some countries, 50% of the engineers are women. So there is no "natural" bias. A project like this can try to change expectations and encourage more women into engineering. Which can only be a good thing (looking around the office here).
The engineering/science fault line is a mirage. I stand by my choice. Boffinry knows no bounds or gender (or genus - my cat has just worked out how to open the fridge door!). If we stick to no engineering, Hodgkin would have to go from the list. Now we have a real mess!
I also agree with Ada Lovelace - though what stuns me about her, is that she achieved everything before her death at just 36. Wow!
Although, I have to come clean. I am not a fan of gender only achievement lists or 'Top woman this', 'Top woman that'. My professional body tried this ages ago. It got headlines, but nothing else. Getting women into into science and engineering is still, sadly, very hard. Shame really. Missed opportunities abound.
I have a prejudice towards natural science. Computer Science, which is closely related to Mathematics, is not a natural science - it's a a formal science. That is fundamentally an exercise in formal processes, logic and the like. All very important and useful and an essential tool of natural sciences, but they do not, in themselves seeks to explain the universe (albeit that natural science models are usually expressed mathematically).
Natural science is not like that at all - it is based on observations and the generation and testing of theories to explain these natural events. it is unfortunate that the word scientist is used to cover so many area, many of which are not even closxel related. For instance, there is a discipline (I use the term loosely) called political science, but I'd have real trouble accepting academics in that subject as being scientists in anything vaguely like the same sense as, say, a physicist. Also engineers would have difficulty claiming to be scientists.
"Science and engineering is the one area of society with the *least* discrimination, and always has been. Amongst fellow geeks, raw talent and ability to apply that talent have always been more highly valued than what you look like and how you behave, so all these competitions for "top female scientist" or "woman engineer of the year" are utterly pointless."
A stirling point well made. As a forty something - I would only ever want to work with (or befriend) engineers or scientists. No prejudice, no discrimination, no agendas (bar getting the design right or solving the problem), no politics. Only the problem. Very pure.
I have only found the opposite in administration, managerial, clerical, financial etc. Give me an engineer or scientist every time. Gender irrelevant (although I have always found women engineers to be brilliant at pure mathemetics and software).
BTW, has everyone read this article, Very disturbing - and not my experience at all.
I've yet to come across anyone like this. The article doesn't seem very helpful, or scientific. Who commissioned it?
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