Wed., March 23, 2016, 1:00pm Library & Archives special lecture: Dr. Marsha Richmond, Wayne State University, Sydney Brenner Scholar
"What Can Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Tell Us About Women's Participation in Science?"
Location: Nicholls Biondi Hall (lunch provided)
Abstract The new research institutes in genetics that arose after 1900 offered talented and ambitious middle-class women with university degrees in biology opportunities to work in science. The Station for Experimental Evolution (later Department of Genetics) at Cold Spring Harbor provides a particularly excellent case study for examining women’s participation in science in the first half of the 20th century. From its inception in 1904, women were appointed as members of staff and became invaluable assets to the work carried out. Between 1904 and 1940, the profile of the women who worked at Cold Spring Harbor was generally a member of a group who carried on the work associated with the research program of the director, published papers jointly with him, although sometimes also single-authored works, and was, in short, part of the “normal science” of the institute. They actively participated in laboratory life, frequently attended and gave papers at scientific conferences, and generally were proud of their career in science, even if they were limited to being regarded as an “assistant” rather than a full “research scientist.” The relatively subsidiary role of women at CSH began to change in the 1940s, when a few women (Barbara McClintock foremost among them) began to be recognized as scientists in their own right. This lecture will examine the transition in the role women played in the different generational cohorts at the Lab before 1950.
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