HELENA M. PYCIOR, NANCY G. SLACK, and PNINA G. ABIR-AM, Eds. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1996. xii, 369 pp. + plates. $50; paper, $18.95. Lives of Women in Science.
In standard accounts of the history of science, women scientists are hardly there. Few of us know even the names of such geniuses as Laura Bassi or Sophie Germaine or Mary Somerville, and although everyone has heard of Marie Curie, her two Nobels did not dispel the notion--despite all evidence to the contrary--that she couldn't have done it without a man. Over time, most women scientists have been written off by generations of historians who regarded women as incongruities to be ignored outright or otherwise explained away. In the past, such historiographic obtuseness helped retard women's education and their entrance into the scientific professions; it has also weakened the history of science as a whole. Women's studies is powerful not only because it rehabilitates forgotten women and their science but because it contributes to an expanded, more nuanced understanding of social institutions, scientific practice, the personal lives of scientists, and science itself.
In Creuave Couples in the Sciences the editors focus on collaborative scientific marriages. The subject is a rich source for biographical studies of women in science, since marriage to a fellow scientist was often the best and sometimes the only way...
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