I always knew that women were underrepresented in science, but I also noticed another trend after listening to Dr. Breitenberger’s lecture. If a woman is remembered for her accomplishments, some kind of affair or bad personality often follows. It is as if people back then thought, “if she is to be remembered, then we must also account for her stubbornness or her affairs”. I have seen male scientists’ personal lives also brought into the conversation, but it is with every single woman I’ve heard of that her genius has to be explained with a negative trait. It’s just something I noticed and hopefully I am wrong.
I enjoyed Dr. Cogan’s presentation because I thought it was interesting to think about how things like air were thought about before they were “discovered.” It’s interesting to think about how mysterious air must have been to people back then, when it seems to be common knowledge now, no surprises. That is, if “common people,” people who weren’t the scientific discoverers, back then even thought about air enough to be curious of it.
I also think it’s interesting that Priestly was pretty much just a catalyst for other scientific thinkers. That is, he sparked ideas for others, probably without realizing he had done so.
I liked the discussion on what sorts of things go into creating a scientific revolution. We talked about how funding is needed as a societal aspect. This would mean that whatever discoveries you hope to get out of the revolution have some benefit to whoever is paying their support for it. So I think sometimes, in any revolution, you need enough people, or maybe the “right” people, to be desperate enough to want solutions to be able to get anything done!
I really appreciated the fact that Dr. Cogan asked us to reflect upon what factors attribute to a scientific revolution. When it comes to the background of the scientists of the time, they tended to be wealthy, educated males who were naturally curious and competitive, wanting all the recognition for themselves. The state of the field of scientific study was also very exclusive, with the many scientific cohorts, and the majority of the discoveries at the time were accidental. However, I was taken back when Dr. Cogan asked whether all the greatest discoveries have already been made. Today, we can’t tinker around in our kitchen and make a new discovery; it’s already been done. Yet, there’s still so much about space, the ocean, etc. that remains unknown. Thus, are there more scientific revolutions to come? Are we technically already apart of a scientific revolution currently as we speak?
I think it is very important to acknowledge women’s accomplishments throughout history. I found it interesting to see that most of the women that were mentioned had connections to wealthy men. It showed that if a woman wanted to have an education or participate in science, she had to be from a high class background. One exception to this was Mary Anning. She had no connections and was often in poverty. This made it even easier for men to claim her discoveries as their own. In class, we talked about some potential reasons that women are left out of history. These include lack of access and the fact that women were written out of history. Many had their ideas accredited to men and had no power to correct this. Some of the women presented very fairly famous, but others I had never heard of before. I enjoyed learning more about each female scientist and hope we continue to explore this in class.
I was already familiar with some of the more well known early women scientists Dr. Breitenberger mentioned, but a lot of the women mentioned, and the accomplishments of some of the women I was already familiar with were new to me. I knew of Marie Curie, for example, but didn’t realize that she’d won not 1 but 2 nobel prizes, or that her daughter, Irene Curie-Joliot, also won a nobel prize for her work on radioisotopes.
Dr. Breitenberger mentioned that when women were able to be involved in science early on, they were generally doing field work, or more general data collection or analysis. Bill Bryson mentions this as well in the context of astronomy. I study mycology myself, and in my research I’ve come across a surprisingly high number of late 19th and early 20th century field mycologists.
I really enjoyed Dr. Breitenberger’s presentation on women scientists in Europe. I thought that I would know most of them, but she presented many that I didn’t know, such as Mary Anning and Marie-Anne Livoisier. Although they were both mentioned briefly in Bryson’s book, I had never heard about them outside of this class. I am glad Dr. Breitenberger thought it was important for the class to learn about some Women in STEM and their contributions. For both projects, I am hoping to focus on women in science as it is a topic I am really passionate about. I think it is important to draw attention to their accomplishments, especially as more women are entering the STEM field. This presentation gave me more women to potentially focus on besides some of the more well known scientists such as Rosalind Franklin and Marie Curie.
I really enjoyed Dr. Breitenberger’s presentation on women in science. I think understanding the societal aspects and difficulties that many women faced when attempting to pursue their career and personal goals was very important during our discussion. I was particularly captivated by the achievements of Caroline Herschel; I couldn’t believe she was able to spot and identify comets that seldomly pass the Earth! After the talk, I did a bit more research on comets and their orbits in our solar system (I didn’t know comets move in an elliptical orbit around the sun). I was also very interested in the work done by Mary Anning and her discoveries. I’m excited to do more research on the impact that women have had on the world of science.
I enjoyed and appreciated Dr. Breitenberger’s presentation on women in science. I of course think it’s an extremely important topic, and I’m glad it was something she felt was worth the whole class hearing, and it continues to be. As I have said before, I would like to focus on women in science for both our OSU history project, and our history of England and France project. Even though this is a topic I have always cared about, I still was introduced to women I have never heard of in this presentation, which I think says something in itself. While this presentation gave me more women to possibly research, I might try to dig deeper for other women who have also gone fairly unnoticed or unaccredited, so we might hear of someone entirely new, although I am still interested in researching Mary Anning more. However, I actually already have someone else in mind who we haven’t discussed, Ada Lovelace, but will have to look into if there is any museum or somewhere I can visit while in England that would have information on her.
I really appreciated the fact that Dr. Breitenberger took the time to research and present notable women in science. Although women have been entering the STEMM field at a more elaborate rate now a days, men still dominate the STEMM field. Like Dr. Breitenberger mentioned, this dominance can be partly attributed to the gender roles seen throughout our history, leading to many scientific findings discovered by women being accredited to men. For example, although Caroline Herschel was the original discoverer of the periodic comet in 1789, Roger Rigollet rediscovered the comet in 1939 and thus the comet was named 35P/Herschel-Rigollet. Again, we see this with Rosalind Franklin, who’s X-ray crystallography was essential to the understanding of the structure of DNA, not being credited for the discovery of the double helix. (As we know, Watson and Crick are accredited with this discovery.)
The discussion of Mary Anning caught my attention the most, however. We were first introduced to Marry Anning during Dr. Dale Gnidiovic’s presentation, then again in Bryson’s book. I’m amazed by how young she was when she was accredited with the discovery of the first ichthyosaur and how detailed her excavations were for being self-taught with minimal tools. Thus, I’m excited to see Mary Annig’s discoveries in the Natural History Museum when we travel to London!
I was obsessed with Dr. Dale Gnidovec! From the dinosaur skull on his belt buckle and his dinosaur tie, to his extreme enthusiasm and passion for paleontology and geology, he captured all of my attention! I really enjoyed how he was able to connect American geological discoveries (even some specifically from Ohio) to some of the museums we will soon be seeing when we travel abroad. Thanks to Dr. Dale Gnidovec, I’m most excited to see the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée! Although I’m a biology major, if I could major in anything, it would be anatomy. Being on a prevet track, I’m very interested in comparative anatomy; thus, this museum is right up my alley! I can’t wait to see with my own eyes the room full of skeletons and all the fossils that Dr. Dale Gnidovec showed us during his presentation!