Re-Imag(in)ing Women in Science: Projecting Identity and Negotiating Gender in Science

  • Sally Gregory Kohlstedt
  • Donald L. Opitz


Women — and men — in science often need to imagine themselves in ways that do not readily conform to the norms prescribed by popular culture imagery2 While pursuing studies of the natural world, scientists construct private and public images of themselves that affect how they navigate through and beyond the social Conventions of their time. As we examine historically the images of women scientists in particular, we see again how powerful the physical body is, at once the site of our most private selves but also our very public presentation of self. The role of gender in science is heavily dependent upon evolving discourses and experiences of mind and body, domestic and professional spheres of life, and personal identities. The self-images of women scientists proved remarkably malleable, able to both compete with and yet sometimes reinforce gendered public images of women. In the process, images could sustain personal ambitions and significant scientific work. Our emphasis on the resiliency of the women studied here does not minimize their struggles, but as historians we must mark as well the sometimes unconscious and sometimes consciously Strategie ways women negotiated gender norms, bringing their own agency to the pursuit of their scientific aspirations.


Marie Curie Public Image Woman Scientist Honorary Doctorate Personal Recollection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Discussions of what it means to see, be seen, and represent are important but beyond the direct scope of our investigation. For important early and recent approaches, see Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage, 1973 [1966]); John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: British Broadcasting System with Penguin Books, 1972); and E.H. Gombrich, Uses of Images: Studies in the Social Function of Art and Visual Communication (London: Phaidon, 1999).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990 [1980]); Londa Schiebinger, The Mind Has No Sex? Women in the Origins of Modern Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989); Marcelle C. LaFollette, “Eyes on the Stars: Images of Women Scientists in Popular Magazines,” Science, Technology & Human Values 13 (1988) 262–275; LaFollette, Making Science our Own: Images of Science, 1910–1955 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). An analysis of the public image of Barbara McClintock sustains the argument that women scientists who seemed not to conform to feminine norms were viewed as different, and sometimes extremely so; see Jessica Nash, “Freak of Nature: Images of Barbara McClintock,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 30 (1999) 21–43. Numerous other studies have demonstrated that the typical scientists as viewed by current students are “mostly male;” see the discussion in Londa Schiebinger Has Feminism Changed Science? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999) 72–80. The themes of struggle are also common in the essays in Sally Gregory Kohlstedt (ed.), History of Women in the Sciences: Readingsfrom ISIS (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Margaret Rossiter, Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982) and Women Scientists in America: Before Affirmative Action (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995). For some discussion of recent scholarship, see Sally Gregory Kohlstedt (ed.), “Introduction,” History of Women in the Sciences 1–9. Biographical dictionaries of women in science provide an overview of accomplishments as, for example, Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie, Women in Science: Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988); Mary R. S. Creese, Ladies in the Laboratory? American and British Women in Science, 1800–1900: A Survey of their Contributions to Research (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998); Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Joy Dorothy Harvey, The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century, 2 volumes (New York: Routledge, 2000); Catherine M. C. Haines with Helen Stevens, International Women in Science: A Biographical Dictionary to 1950 (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2001).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Margaret W. Rossiter, “The [Matthew] Mathilda Effect in Science,” Social Studies of Science 22 (1993)325–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    For some overview of these genres, see Carolyn B. Heilbrun, Writing Women’ s Lives (New York: Ballantine, 1988); and also Michael Shortland and Richard Yeo (eds), Telling Lives in Science: Essays on Scientific Biography (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    On the negotiation between artist and patron, see Nancy Wisely and Gary Allen Fine, ”‘Making Faces:’ Portraiture as a Negotiated Worker-Client Relationship,” Work and Occupations 24 (May, 1997) 164–187. This theme is found in Barbara Maria Stafford, “An Image of One’s Own: Design Discipline vs. Visual Studies,” Design Issues 11 (Spring, 1995) 66–70. Much of the work by art historians on gender has emphasized the prevalent male gaze that positions women by prescriptive norms and images. See, for example, Gill Perry (ed.), Gender and Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999) and the discussion of the male gaze found throughout Griselda Pollock (ed.), Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art (London: Routledge, 1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.
    An application of this way of thinking about women naturalists in late nineteenth Century Britain is found in Suzanne Le-May Sheffield, Revealing New Worlds: Three Women Victorian Naturalists (New York: Routledge, 2001). Sheffield explores in detail just how these women negotiated their pursuits in the natural sciences and their self-representations while doing so.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    See, for example, the work of Sharon Traweek, Beamtimes and Lifetimes: The World of High Energy Physicists (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988). Among other things, Traweek documents the way in which self-assurance, even haughty superiority, is a demeanor assumed by many male physicists. A particularly good discussion of the relationship between mathematics and athleticism is found in Andrew Warwick’s “Exercising the Student Body: Mathematics and Athleticism in Victorian Cambridge,” in Christopher Lawrence and Steven Shapin (eds), Science Incarnate: Historical Embodiments of Natural Knowledge, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). Among other specific overlaps in activities, Warwick also points to the use of interchangeable vocabulary such as exercises and training as well as the competitive scoring implied by the Wrangler-making process. Male images alone are discussed in the largely negative portrayals of scientists in literature found in Roslynn D. Haynes, From Faust to Strangelove: Representations of the Scientist in Western Literature (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Stephen Shapin, “The Philosopher and the Chicken: On the Dietetics of Disembodied Knowledge,” in Science Incarnate: Historical Embodiments of Natural Knowledge 21–50; Ludmilla Jordanova, Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1989), especially “Natural Facts: An Historical Perspective on Science and Sexuality,” 19–42; Ludmilla Jordanova, Nature Displayed: Gender, Science, and Medicine, 1760–1820 (London: Longman, 1999), especially “Feminine Figures: Nature Display’d,” 21–47. The verdict on women’s intellectual abilities was by no means uniform. See Lieselotte Steinbrygge, The Moral Sex: Woman’ s Nature in the French Enlightenment, translated by Pamela E. Selwyn (New York: Oxford, 1995).Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Merchant, Death of Nature, passim.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Ludmilla Jordanova, in Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits, 1660–2000 (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2000), emphasized that portraits typically serve as an effective tool for creating public faces for people and institutions to assert their significance.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    Sarah Hutton, “Anne Conway, Margaret Cavendish, and Seventeenth-Century Thought,” in Lynette Hunter and Sarah Hutton (eds), Women, Science, and Medicine, 1500–1700 (Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1997) 218–234.Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    The cherub was a Standard Baroque Convention, an iconography discussed in Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985), especially 334–335.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Her independent attitude seemed to grow stronger with age and in her more imaginative works, often autobiographical, some of which have been edited for modern readers in Kate Lilley (ed.), Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle: The Description of a New World Called the Blazing World and Other Writings (London: William Pickering, 1992). Other autobiographical work is in the imaginative conversations on domestic relations found in James Fitzmaurice (ed.), Margaret Cavendish: Sociable Letters (New York: Garland, 1997), and her short autobiography “Margaret Cavendish,” reprinted in Elspeth Graham et al. (eds), Her Own Life: Autobiographical Writings by Seventeenth-Century Englishwomen(London: Routledge, 1989) 87–100. Also see Sara Heller Mendelson, The Mental World of Stuart Women(Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987) 12–61.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Carolyn Merchant interprets Margaret Cavendish as an independent and often contrarian natural philosopher in The Death of Nature 270–272, and Londa Schiebinger discusses Cavendish’s challenges to the Conventions that bound intellectual women of the period in The Mind Has No Sex? 51–53. Several biographies, reprinted editions of books by Cavendish with introductory materials, and dissertations discuss her multifaceted scholarly and more populär books with particular attention to the ways in which Cavendish defied some contemporary presumptions in her own independent interpretations. See, for example, Anna Battigelli, Margaret Cavendish and the Exiles of the Mind (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    James Fitzmaurice indicates the choice Cavendish often exercised to include or exclude frontispieces to her works in “Front Matter and the Physical Make-up of Natures PicturesWomen’ s Writing 4 (1997) 353–367. Art historian Linda Nochlin in Representing Women (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999) offers a useful discussion of the “space of femininity” of American artist Mary Cassatt. Nochlin argues that by appropriating maternal and domestic images but purposefully eliminating the sentimentality attached to them, Cassatt created a more direct gaze between viewer and viewed. The presentations also established a domain for individual women that typically demonstrated each with a very orderly “material mind” managing her Space.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    Quoted in Battigelli, Margaret Cavendish 5. Cavendish wrote of her dress, “[By] reason I took great delight in attiring, fine dressing and fashions, especially such fashions as I did invent myself, not taking that pleasure in such fashions as was invented by others.” Margaret Cavendish, A True Relation of the Birth, Wedding and Life of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, edited by Edgerton Bryges (Kent: Johnson and Warwick, 1814) 31.Google Scholar
  18. 22.
    Greta Peterson kindly shared with Sally Gregory Kohlstedt some of the materials that she used for her undergraduate thesis at the University of Minnesota in April 2000 and also talked with her at length about Merian. For recent accounts, see Florence F. J. M. Pieters, “Maria Sibylla Merian, Naturalist and Artist: A Commemoration on the Occasion of the 350th Anniversary of her Birth,” Archives of Natural History 26 (1999) 1–18; Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff, “Metamorphoses of Perspective: ‘Merian’ as a Subject of Feminist Discourse,” in Kurt Wettengl (ed.), Maria Sibylla Merian (1646–1717): Artist and Naturalist,translated from the German by John S. Southard (Ostfildern: Ger Hatje, 1998) 202–219; Sharon Valiant, “Maria Sibylla Merian: Recovering an Eighteenth-Century Legend,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 26 (1993) 467–479. Merian is also a primary subject in Natalie Zemon Davis, Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 23.
    John Michael Montias, “Works of Art in Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: An Analysis of Subject and Attributions,” in David Freedberg and Jan de Vries (eds), Art in History, History in Art: Studies in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Culture (Santa Monica: Getty Center for the History of Art and Humanities, 1991) especially 383–387. S. Peter Dance in The Art of Natural History (New York: Arch Cape Press, 1978) uses a Merian print for his cover and argues that her volume on Surinam was “easily the most magnificent work on insects so far produced” (50).Google Scholar
  20. 24.
    Quoted in Londa Schiebinger, The Mind Has No Sex? 70; from Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (1705), edited by Helmut Decker (Leipzig, 1975) 36.Google Scholar
  21. 25.
    Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium. Over de voortteeling en wonderbaerlyke veranderingen der Surinaamsche insecten (Amsterdam, 1719). Also see a more recent Catalogue of an Exhibition held at the Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main in Kurt Wettengl (ed.), Maria Sibylla Merian, 1647–1717: Artist and Naturalist, translated from the German by John S. Southard (Ostfildern: G Hatjej, 1998).Google Scholar
  22. 26.
    Paola Tinagli, Women in Italian Renaissance Arts: Gender, Representation, Identity (Manchester: Manchester University, 1997) outlines the themes of the earlier period, with attention to saints, nudes, and idealized, even conventionalized portraits that would yield to a new genre. Another useful overview is provided by Gill Perry (ed.), Gender and Art. We thank Nancy Wisely for bringing these books to our attention.Google Scholar
  23. 27.
    Barbara Stafford, Looking Good: Essays on the Virtues of Images (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997) 97–98.Google Scholar
  24. 28.
    Two important books of essays deal with domestic partnerships and lives: Pnina Abir-Am and Dorinda Outram (eds), Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives: Women in Science, 1789–1979 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987), and Helena M. Pycior, Nancy G. Slack and Pnina G. Abir-Am (eds), Creative Couples in the Sciences (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  25. 29.
    Obituary Notice, The Morning Post (London: 2 December 1872). Kathryn A. Neeley’s recent biography, Mary Somerville: Science, Illumination, and the Female Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) points out that this “idealized public image” posed a complicated problem for those who also knew a woman of rather simple and ordinary style; see esp. 169–198.Google Scholar
  26. 30.
    Mary Somerville, Personal Recollections from Early Life to Old Age of Mary Somerville, edited by Martha C. Somerville (London: John Murray, 1873) 1. On Somerville see also Elizabeth Chambers Patterson, Mary Somerville and the Cultivation of Science, 1814–1840 (Boston: Marinus Nijhoff, 1983).Google Scholar
  27. 31.
    Paula Gould discusses Somerville as role model in her thesis, “Femininity and Physical Science in Britain, 1870–1914” (Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge University, 1998) 184–187, 189–191.Google Scholar
  28. 32.
    For some discussion of the gender polarities presumed to be natural in the period, see Ludmilla Jordanova, Nature Displayed.Google Scholar
  29. 33.
    The bust is located at the entrance of the Royal Society Library. The sculptor was the well-known Sir Francis Chantrey, also a friend of Somerville. See A.J. Raymond, Life and Work of Sir Francis Chantrey (London: A. & F. Denny, 1904); S. Dunkerley, Francis Chantrey, Sculptor: From Norton to Knighthood (Sheffield: The Hallamshire Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  30. 34.
    Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump 32–35; Londa Schiebinger, “Female Icons: The Face of Early Modern Science,” Critical Inquiry 14 (1988) 661–669; Schiebinger, The Mind Has No Sex? 119–159. Compare the bust of Sophie Germain (1776–1831), French mathematician in Teri Perl, Math Equals: Biographies of Women Mathematicians (Menlo Park: Addison-Wesley, 1978) 62.Google Scholar
  31. 35.
    Another way in which Somerville becomes a muse of sorts is suggested in reviews of her second treatise, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences. Very favorably received, this work prompted William Whewell to argue for the need of bringing a Splintering science together, with one recommendation being the adoption of a new professional label, scientist. For discussion of this influence, see Robert K. Merton, “DeGendering ‘Man of Science:’ The Genesis and Epicene Character of the Word Scientist,” and Gerald Holton, “On Robert Merton, Mary Somerville and the Moral Authority of Science,” in Kai Erikson (ed.), Sociological Visions (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997). Compare Alison Winter, “A Calculus of Suffering: Ada Lovelace and the Bodily Constraints on Women’s Knowledge in Early Victorian England,” in Science Incarnate 202–239.Google Scholar
  32. 37.
    Somerville, Personal Recollections 1 and 374.Google Scholar
  33. 38.
    The astronomer Maria Mitchell visited Somerville and remarked, “I could but admire Mrs. Somerville as a woman. The ascent of the steep and rugged path of science had not unfitted her for the drawing-room circle; the hours of devotion to close study have not been incompatible with the duties of wife and mother; the mind that has turned to rigid demonstration has not thereby lost its faith in those truths which figures will not prove.” Quoted in Phoebe Mitchell Kendali, Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters, and Journals (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1986) 653.Google Scholar
  34. 39.
    Myra Stark, “The Princess of Parallelograms, or the Case of Lady Byron,” Keats-Shelley Journal 31 (1982)118–137.Google Scholar
  35. 40.
    The biography by Dorothy Stein, Ada: A Life and Legacy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984) was written as a corrective to earlier exaggerated Claims for the woman who some had claimed had invented the Computer, and its message seems rather to suggest the problems and limitations of Ada Lovelace. A more recent book by Betty Alexandra Toole, Ada: the Enchantress of Numbers (Marin County, CA., Strawberry Press, 1992) reproduces letters and offers a more sympathetic view. Also useful are Doris Langley Moore, Ada: Countess of Lovelace (London: John Murray, 1977); and Benjamin Wooley, The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason, and Byron’ s Daughter (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999).Google Scholar
  36. 41.
    Joan Baum, The Calculating Passion of Ada Bryon (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1986).Google Scholar
  37. 42.
    Winter, “A Calculus of Suffering,” 227 and 203.Google Scholar
  38. 43.
    Winter, “A Calculus of Suffering,” 203 and 220.Google Scholar
  39. 44.
    Sketches of the life and work of Agnes Pockels include Wo. Ostwald, “Die Arbeiten von Agnes Pockels über Grenzschichen und Filme,” Kolloid-Zeitschrift 53 (1932) 1–8; C.H. Giles and S.D. Forrester, “The Origins of the Surface Film Balance: Studies in the Early History of Surface Chemistry, Part 3,” Chemistry and Industry (9 January 1971) 43–53; Eleanor S. Elder, “Agnes Pockels — Indeed a Lady,” Chemistry 47 (1974) 10–12; Gabriele Beisswanger, “Das Portrait: Agnes Pockels (1862–1935) und die Oberflächenchemie,” Chemie in Unserer Zeit 25 (1991) 97–102; M. Elizabeth Derrick, “Agnes Pockels (1862–1935),” in Louis S. Grinstein, Rose K. Rose and Miriam H. Rafailovich (eds), Women in Chemistry and Physics: A Biobibliographical Sourcebook (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1993). Donald L. Opitz has demonstrated that Evelyn, Lady Rayleigh, was herself skilled in science in “Science and Separate Spheres in the Lives of the Balfour Family Circle, 1865–1897,” a paper presented at the Conference-Workshop of the Women’s Commission of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge, 10–12 September 1999.Google Scholar
  40. 45.
    Siegfried Engels and Rudiger Stolz, ABC Geschichte der Chemie (Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag für Grundstoffindustrie, 1989); Beisswanger, “Das Portrait,” 102.Google Scholar
  41. 46.
    Quoted in Elder, “Agnes Pockels,” 11, translated from Elisabeth Pockels, “Ein gelehrtes Geschwisterpaar Zur Erinnerung an Agnes Pockels (1862–1935),” Bericht der Oberhessischen Gesellschaft für Natur und Heilkunde zu Geißen, Naturwissenschaftliche Abteilung 24 (1949) 303–307, on 304.Google Scholar
  42. 47.
    K. M. Reese, “Surface Scientist Did Much of Work in Kitchen,” Chemical and Engineering News 61 (1983) 48; Joan Dash, A Life of One’ s Own: Three Gifted Women and the Men They Married (New York: Harper and Row, 1954) 249. The quotation is from Elder, “Agnes Pockels,” 10.Google Scholar
  43. 48.
    Quoted in Giles and Forrester, “The Origins,” 47. The authors see her discovery within a tradition of scientific discovery involving the kitchen sink, a place “peculiarly able to produce ideas”; ibid. 48.Google Scholar
  44. 49.
    Pockels, “Surface Tension,” Nature 43 (1891) 437–439. The entire letter, with Rayleigh’s preface, is available on-line at While most authors acknowledge Rayleigh’s generous and honorable character, none give a role to the affinity between his and Pockels’s styles of research; see John N. Howard, “Principal Contributions of John William Strutt, Third Baron Rayleigh,” Rutherford Aris, H.T. Davis and Roger H. Stuewer (eds), Springs of Scientific Creativity: Essays on the Founders of Modern Science (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983). The argument is extended in “Male Mentoring, Women’s Work, and Gender Ideology in Victorian Physics: The Careers of Agnes Pockels, Eleanor Sidgwick, and Hertha Ayrton,” a paper presented by Donald L. Opitz at the Women and Science, Technology, and Medicine Conference, St. Louis University, 12–15 October 2000.Google Scholar
  45. 50.
    Giles and Forrester, “The Origins,” 50.Google Scholar
  46. 51.
    Quoted in Giles and Forrester, “The Origins,” 50.Google Scholar
  47. 52.
    Our discussion of Tammes is heavily dependent on Ida H. Stamhuis, “A Female Contribution to Early Genetics: Tine Tammes and Mendel’s Laws for Continuous Characters,” Journal of the History of Biology 28 (1995) 495–531; and I.E. de Wilde, ‘Jantina Tammes (1871–1947): Nederlands eerste hoogleraar in de erfelijkheidsleer,” in G.A. van Gemert, J. Schuller tot Peursum-Meijer and A.J. Vanderjagt (eds), Om niet aan onwetendheid en barbarij te bezwijken, Groningse geleerden 1614–1989 (Hilversum: Verloren, 1989) 187–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 53.
    Tammes published a monograph leading to her honorary doctorate: Tine Tammes, Die Periodicität Morphologischer Erscheinungen bei den Pflanzen, Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam, Second Section, vol. 9, no. 5 (1903). Both Somerville and Pockels felt a strong commitment to pursuing their scientific work without sacrificing their responsibilities to their families. This “sense of duty” is discussed in Martha Vicinus, Independent Women: Work and Community for Single Women, 1850–1920 (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1985); and in Janet Oppenheim, “A Mother’s Role and a Daughter’s Duty: Lady Blanche Balfour, Eleanor Sidgwick, and Feminist Perspectives,” Journal of British Studies 34 (April 1995) 196–232.Google Scholar
  49. 54.
    Stamhuis, “A Female Contribution,” 502–503, 507, 528. As Stamhuis suggests, the 1911 international Conference seems pivotal in the fate of Tammes’ recognition.Google Scholar
  50. 55.
    W. Wijnaendts Francken-Dyserinck, “Prof. Dr. Tine Tammes Zeventig Jaar: Een Vrouw van Overmatige Bescheidenheid,” Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, June 22, 1941; Stamhuis, “A Female Contribution,” 507.Google Scholar
  51. 57.
    “Tine Tammes: 1871–23 Juni–1941,” Genetica 22 (1940–41) 1–4. Schiebinger indicates the impact of masculine professional Standards on women’s style of dress ın Has Feminism Changed Science? 77–78.Google Scholar
  52. 58.
    Quoted in Stamhuis, “A Female Contribution,” 531.Google Scholar
  53. 59.
    More analytical accounts of Curie’s life attendant to the complexities of both the personal and professional dimensions include Susan Quinn’s Marie Curie: A Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995); Helena Pycior, “Marie Curie’s ‘Anti-natural Path’: Time Only for Science and Family,” in Pnina G. Abir-Am and Dorinda Outram (eds), Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives 39–56; Margaret Rossiter, Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 129–130. By Curie’s own reckoning, she had time only for “science and family” but the Curie household was also social and accessible to scientific colleagues. Women of science in the twentieth Century knew of their predecessors and might find supportive colleagues in many places. Yet the life of Marie Curie did not deviate so far from some of the patterns we have seen — the curiosity factor of the public with its attendant mythologies and sanctions required a self-conscious positioning. Margaret Rossiter in fact has pointed to the limits of the “Madame Curie strategy” of adopting a less confrontational position of over qualification and personal stoicism and even acceptance of job inequality in order to stay with the scientific work in Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies 122–128.Google Scholar
  54. 60.
    Thoughtful discussions of the collaboration are found ın Helena M. Pycior, “Pierre Curie and ‘His Eminent Collaborator Mme. Curie’: Complementary Partners,” in Creative Couples in the Sciences 39–56; and her “Reaping the Benefits of Collaboration While Avoiding Its Pitfalls: Marie Curie’s Rise to Scientific Prominence,” Social Studies of Science 23 (1993) 301–323. Curie has been interpreted in every medium, including film; see Alberto Elena “Skirts in the Lab:’ Madame Curie’ and the Image of the Woman Scientist in the Feature Film,” in Public Understanding of Science 6 (1997) 269–278.Google Scholar
  55. 61.
    The most recent account of Marie Curie is Susan Quinn, Marie Curie, a Life and another less well documented account is Rosalynd Pflaum, Grand Obsession: Marie Curie and Her World (New York: Doubleday, 1989). Very useful is Marie Curie’s biography of her husband, Pierre Curie, translated by Charlotte and Vernon Kellogg (New York: Macmillan, 1932 [1930]) and their daughter Eve Curie’s Madame Curie: A Biography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1938). Mary Thomas kindly shared her unpublished seminar paper, ”’ Our Lady of Radium:’ The Creation of Marie Curie’s Image by the American Popular Press,” (University of Minnesota, 1996).Google Scholar
  56. 62.
    Helen Ferris (ed.), When I Was a Girl: The Stories of Five Famous Women as Told by Themselves (New York: Macmillan Co., 1930) 143–161.Google Scholar
  57. 63.
    The designation “dreamer” was common in Marie Curie, Pierre Curie 33, passim.Google Scholar
  58. 64.
    Pflaum, Grand Obsession 81. Marie Curie also pursued independent research on magnets, as discussed by Graeme Gooday, “Irony and Magnetism: Marie Skodowska Curie and the Technologies of Permanence,” paper presented at the History and Philosophy of Science Department Seminar, University of Cambridge, March 2001.Google Scholar
  59. 65.
    Ludmilla Jordanova, Defining Features 126. Jordanova points out that an austere appearance was a significant part of the image stressed by Curie and her biographers and relates to qualities of self-discipline and self-sacriflce for the cause of science.Google Scholar
  60. 66.
    See Marina Benjamin, “Elbow Room: Women Writers on Science, 1790–1840,” in Science and Sensibilıty: Gender and Scientific Inquiry, 1780–1945 (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1991) 51–52.Google Scholar
  61. 67.
    For accounts that specifically challenge this assumption by pointing to the roles of race and class, seeGoogle Scholar
  62. Kenneth Manning, Black Apollo: The Life of Ernest Everett Just (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983); Anne Secord, “Corresponding Interests: Artisans and Gentlemen in Nineteenth-Century Natural History,” British Journal for the History of Scıence 27 (1994) 383–408.Google Scholar
  63. 68.
    Battigelli, Margaret Cavendish and Exıles of the Mind 104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Gregory Kohlstedt
  • Donald L. Opitz

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations