Download PDF by Marelene F. Rayner-Canham, Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham: A Devotion to Their Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity

By Marelene F. Rayner-Canham, Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham

ISBN-10: 0773516085

ISBN-13: 9780773516083

This paintings contains biographical essays on 23 ladies who labored in atomic technological know-how in the course of the first twenty years of the 20 th century, together with Marie Curie, Lise Meitner, Irene Joliot-Curie, and a bunch of lesser-known ladies scientists whose existence tales have by no means earlier than been advised. The biographies spotlight the lives and paintings of those girls, noting their contributions and the demanding situations they confronted and overcame. Taken jointly the essays checklist their collective studies, highlighting the help community that constructed between them and the explanations ladies have been extra essential during this box within the early a part of this century than in different sciences. via convalescing and recording person and collective histories of the various eminent ladies in radioactivity whose paintings had an enormous influence at the medical discoveries of the final century, a extra entire, gender-integrated view of the heritage of this interesting box emerges.

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It is as if she assumed that, for a woman, a life devoted to the study of radioactivity precluded any possibility of a family life. As we shall see, this was largely the case. Yet it was not just through ignorance or carelessness that radioactive materials were handled in a cavalier fashion. With the burst of optimism at the start of the twentieth century, science was looked upon as the great saviour of humanity. 43 To admit that radiation had a darker side as a cause of illness and death was unacceptable.

13 The comment is equally applicable to the women who were studying radioactivity. We can obtain a better view of women in a scientific field by looking at the whole picture through accounts of as many women who entered the field as possible. Early research into radioactivity is ideal for this study in that there were a significant proportion of women in the field; yet because it was a completely new area of study, the total number of women was quite small: according to our research, about thirty in the first two decades of this century.

7 Other letters reveal that during this period Curie's "lack of gaiety" ran deeply indeed. She was isolated from her family in Warsaw, barely able to afford the postage stamps by which she maintained minimal contact with them, abandoned by her first love, and pushed to the limits of her endurance by the demands of her position. She was led even to question the value of her own life: "My plans for the future? I have none, or rather they are so commonplace and simple that they are not worth talking about.

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A Devotion to Their Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity by Marelene F. Rayner-Canham, Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham


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