A Scientific Anthology: Women in Science

Introduction

There have been many op-ed pieces and articles published about women in science chronicling their ups, downs and everything in between.

This anthology profiles 20 women in various fields of science, from molecular biology to physics, astronomy to zoology. They come from various socioeconomic, ethnic and geographical backgrounds. Some are well known, others you may just hear of for the first time. Some are still alive, while others are now circulating as a part of our universe. Some may have found their career path easier than others. Some may have had additional labels threaten to weigh them down.

Something you’ll find they all have in common is a curiosity and a passion – about their field and their work – and a desire to make the world a better place.

Helena Greenwood

Helena greenwood article

Image Courtesy of PubMed Central


Helena Greenwood was born in 1949 in the South Coast of England to two academicians (Pointing From the Grave by Samantha Weinberg, p12). Not initially interested in science, she eventually caught the science bug eventually earning her PhD in Chemical Pathology at the age of 24 (Weinberg, p14). According to The Association of Clinical Pathologists, “Chemical Pathology is the branch of pathology dealing with the biochemical basis of disease and the use of biochemical tests for screening, diagnosis, prognosis and management.” As we learned in class, biology is built on an underlying foundation of chemistry and who we are is basically a result of millions and millions of chemical reactions going on in our bodies simultaneously. The image above is the front page of a journal article she published based on her PhD research. Around 1976, Dr. Greenwood worked at Syva, a now defunct biotech company in California that specialized in medical diagnostic tests such as “Emit, a product used to detect the presence of drugs (…) in the blood chemistry (Weinberg, p16). She moved from bench work to product development to product marketing" (Weinberg, p15) and in 1984 was hired by Gen-Probe (Weinberg, p21). Here, she was able to pursue her interest in the cutting-edge use of DNA as a diagnostic tool: DNA probes. Weinberg paints Dr. Greenwood as focused and driven. At the time of her untimely death at age 36, she had yet to have kids and this is one of the challenges faced by women in science; the decision to pursue a career or start a family is still an issue today.

Marie Curie

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Rosalind Franklin

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Conclusion

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A Scientific Anthology: Women in Science

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