Friday, February 21, 2014

EBD's Woman Scientist of the Day - Hypatia of Alexandria

Daughter of Theon, member of the Museum of Alexandria.  Hypatia studied, wrote and taught on mathematics and astronomy.  Studies even included use of the astrolabe.  Apparently, her public records drew crowds, but the idea of a woman exerting such influence and education distressed conservatives, and a group of them tracked her to a temple and beat her to death with roofing tiles.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Woman Scientist of the Day - 1/21/14 Merit Ptah

Merit Ptah ("Beloved of the god Ptah"; c. 2700 BCE) was an early physician in ancient Egypt.[2] She is most notable for being the first woman known by name in the history of the field of medicine, and possibly the first named woman in all of science as well.[3]

(Stolen directly from Wikipedia, thus all the hyperlinks)

Photo from Nubian Inspiration blog:

I don't plan on doing so little work on my own side, but there is pretty much nothing else known about this early woman scientist/physician.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scientist of the Day - Maria Sibylla Merian

Scientist of the Day
Maria Sibylla Merian

German/Swiss botanist and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian was a classically-trained artist whose devotion to the study of plants and insects contributed tremendously to the increase of scientific knowledge.  Merian's close study and reporting of the metamorphosis of butterflies makes her one of the most important contributors to entomolgy.

Merian's skills as a botanist and artist helped the city of Amsterdam decide to send her and her daughter (after Maria had divorced her husband) to Suriname in South America to study the plants and insects of the new continent.  Her return after only 2 years (caused by malaria) resulted in her most important book on the insects of Suriname.

Her work was important and accurate enough to be re-validated and re-printed in the late 20th century.

Scientist of the Day January 18 - Dr. Laura Bassi

Scientist of the Day
Laura Bassi

Laura Bassi, recipient of the third doctorate ever bestowed upon a woman, was also the first woman to become a professor at a university - the University of Bologna, in Italy.

A Physics professor, Dr. Bassi studied electricity before any other woman.  She also studied and taught Newtonian physics, optics and mathematics.  For 28 years she taught students at the University and produced at least one dissertation a year in a wide variety of aspects of physics.

A brilliant scientist in her own right, she received assistance from important men, including Pope Benedict XIV, who hoped to revive Bologna as a center of learning and scholarship.

Two years before she died, she was even elevated to the chair in experimental physics at the University.

A crater on Venus bears her name, and she has been honored with a statue above the Nautical Room at the college.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Facebook and Twitter Links

Follow us at
to find out the latest on the production as it progresses.

In an effort to help with the recruitment of "names" to lend gravitas to our project, I joined Twitter.  I used my real name, so for the moment the Equal . . . But Different? Twitter address is @MrLRogers

Join us in our effort to make this project a reality!

Woman Scientist of the Day 1/17/14 - Lady Margaret Cavedish

Scientist of the Day 1/17
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

The multi-talented Duchess, a poet, playwright, essayist, philosopher and novelist was a British royalist, living for some time in exile with the queen in France.  A reluctant wife, she finally married the Marquess "because he was a worthy man ... respectful towards her."  The author of 14 books (unusually for the time, published under her own name), she explored a wide array of subjects, even writing what is seen as one of the first science-fiction novels "The Blazing World," an exploration of a utopia.
The Marquess (later Duke) and Duchess lived not just in France (where they had met and married), but also in Belgium and the Netherlands before returning to England upon the restoration of the monarchy.  Her choice of the Duke as spouse seems to have been a good one, as they remained in good relations through various trials, including poverty, exile, and childlessness - Margaret endured several procedures for improving fertility - the Duke having sired children with his first wife was not suspected as being the source of barrenness.
"Mad Madge" as she is sometimes known, followed her own path in fashion and literature and language, sometimes being accused of coarse language, and often dressing in unconventional ways.  Her writings are among the earliest to address gender roles, as well.
Cavendish was among the earliest natural philosophers to reject Aristotelianism.  A self-taught natural philosopher (what we now call scientist), she likely learned much from study and discussion with both her husband and brother, both of whom showed deep interest in natural philosophy.  The odds were great that she also encountered more well-known contemporaries such as Thomas Hobbes and Robert Boyle.
Although she published 6 (six!) books on Natural Philosophy, she never was allowed to join the Royal Society of London.  The mores of the time did allow her to attend one meeting.
Despite being quite the outlier, Lady Cavendish nonetheless illustrates what a determined woman (with appropriate means, of course) can accomplish in a world whose unwritten social rules try to prevent such accomplishment.

The Blazing World may be read here: