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Why are the fields of science and technology still considered to be predominantly male professions? The Madame Curie Complex moves beyond the most common explanations—limited access to professional training, lack of resources, exclusion from social networks of men—to give historical context and unexpected revelations about women's contributions to the sciences. Exploring the lives of Jane Goodall, Rosalind Franklin, Rosalyn Yalow, Barbara McClintock, Rachel Carson, and the women of the Manhattan Project, Julie Des Jardins considers their personal and professional stories in relation to their male counterparts—Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi—to demonstrate how the gendered culture of science molds the methods, structure, and experience of the work. With lively anecdotes and vivid detail, The Madame Curie Complex reveals how women scientists have often asked different questions, used different methods, come up with different explanations for phenomena in the natural world, and how they have forever transformed a scientist's role.
Julie Des Jardins, the author of Women and the Historical Enterprise in America, is a professor of history at Baruch College, CUNY.
Introduction: Through the Lives of Women Scientists 1
I Assistants, Housekeepers, and Interchangeable Parts: Women Scientists and Professionalization 1880-1940 11
1 Madame Curie's American Tours: Women and Science in the 1920s 23
2 Making Science Domestic and Domesticity Scientific: The Ambiguous Life and Ambidextrous Work of Lillian Gilbreth 53
3 To Embrace or Decline Marriage and Family: Annie Jump Cannon and the Women of the Harvard Observatory, 1880-1940 88
II The Cult of Masculinity in the Age of Heroic Science, 1941-1962 117
4 Those Science Made Invisible: Finding the Women of the Manhattan Project 130
5 Maria Goeppert Mayer and Rosalind Franklin: The Politics of Partners and Prizes in the Heroic Age of Science 157
III American Women and Science in Transition, 1962 201
6 Generational Divides: Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, Evelyn Fox Keller, Barbara McClintock, and Feminism after 1963 219
7 The Lady Trimates and Feminist Science?: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birut? Galdikas 253
Conclusion: Apes, Corn, and Silent Springs: A Women's Tradition of Science? 285