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For generations, aspiring women scientists have looked to Marie Curie, the famed Nobel Prize–winning chemist, for inspiration. But what lesson, exactly, are they to draw from her example? Marie Curie was exceptional, but she was ordinary as well. She faced all the trials and tribulations shared by women of her time; furthermore, she had to contend with the barriers against women’s wider participation in educational institutions, in scientific practice, and professional attainments and rewards. Indeed, her struggles and failures tell us more about the fate of women in the sciences, historically, than her achievements ever will.
From Maria Winkelman’s discovery of the comet of 1702 to the Nobel Prize–winning work of twentieth-century scientist Barbara McClintock, women have played a central role in modern science. Their successes have not come easily, nor have they been consistently recognized. This important book examines the challenges and barriers women scientists have faced and chronicles their achievements as they struggled to attain recognition for their work in the male-dominated world of modern science. As the only comprehensive textbook to examine women’s participation in, and portrayal by, Western science from the scientific revolution to the present, Women and Science is an essential teaching and reference tool for students in both the history of science and women’s studies.