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Forgotten Women in Science

Nov 02,2015 by Edulab

Once upon a time, female contribution to science was either forgotten or actively ignored. It’s sad to think that women who made incredible discoveries weren’t celebrated at the time of their revelations. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re destined to remain unacknowledged until the end of time.

The latest London play to feature Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman is a small way to celebrate one particular female scientist’s contribution to the sector. In Photograph 51, Kidman portrays Rosalind Franklin who was a silent partner in revealing the structure of DNA.

For decades, and even centuries, women have made significant scientific discoveries that we think need to be celebrated. Here are some other females that made mind boggling contributions through the course of their lifetime and should be acknowledged for their revelations!

Esther Lederberg

As a microbiologist, Esther Lederberg made a significant contribution to science. Not only did she make discoveries that paved the way for future work on genetic inheritance in bacteria, gene regulation, and genetic recombination, she was responsible for a number of her own discoveries. For instance, Lederberg discovered the virus lambda bacteriophage and that it infects bacteria.

In 1958 her first husband, Joshua Lederberg, was awarded the Nobel Prize for developing a way to easily transfer bacterial colonies from one petri dish to another, known as replica plating. This method enabled the study of antibiotic resistance. However, Esther wasn’t acknowledged for the part she played in this discovery and the award was shared with George Beadle and Edward Tatum.

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner’s contributions to nuclear physics led to the discovery of nuclear fission, paving the way for the nuclear bomb. Meitner began collaborating with chemist Otto Hahn on the topic after moving to Berlin in 1907.

Despite working together for multiple decades, Hahn didn’t include Meitner as a co-author and won the 1944 Nobel Prize for his contributions to splitting the atom.

Nettie Stevens

The discovery of an organism’s sex being determined by chromosomes has often been attributed to Thomas Hunt Morgan. Writing the first genetics textbook allowed him a platform to magnify his contributions.

However, he corresponded with Stevens through letters to ask her specific details about the experiments she was carrying out at the turn of the 20th century and didn’t credit her for her work.

So there you have it, just a few of the many women in science who have made a significant contribution over the years and deserve to be celebrated, albeit a little late.

If you’re interested in becoming the next best scientist, whether you’re male or female, we have some fantastic chemistry equipment for you to get your hands on. To stock up on some science essentials, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team by calling 01366 385 777.

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