Category Archives: Blog

Reflections on ‘shadowing’ a woman working in science, by Cressida Jervis Read

Craft, Controls, Connections and Career…. The confined, warmly damp, busy world of the insectaries at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was where Dr Nina Stanczyk, Research Fellow in Medical Entomology and my partner scientist in the WISRNet Shadowing Scheme and I started our tour of her workplace. Collecting a number of Anopheline mosquitoes from their netted cage in the insectary, we took them up to a brightly lit lab for the experiment Nina was due to carry out that day.

Dr Marielle Chartier

Shadowing a CERN scientist and mother of two by Camilla Mørk Røstvik (University of Manchester)

Signing up for the shadowing scheme I was put together with Dr Marielle Chartier from the Physics Department within the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Liverpool’. After writing about physicists and physics for my PhD for two years, I realised that this was the first time I was going to talk with a physicist who happened to be female. Thus I entered into this with a growing awareness that the link between the science historian and the scientist is not only important, but political.

Reflections on WISRNet Shadowing Scheme – 2

Dr Emily Winterburn (Visiting Fellow, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds) reflects upon her experience shadowing Dr Samantha Pugh (Chemistry Faculty Student Enhancement Officer, School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Leeds)

ChemistrySamantha Pugh is the Faculty Student Education Enhancement Officer based in the Chemistry department at the University of Leeds. She has a PhD in colour chemistry, and has taught on various courses in the department and now works on developing the student experience, in particular, helping the students to see and experience the types of careers available to them in industry. This involves devising courses that show the role of chemistry in the world, and the processes involved (and jobs within that chain) in transforming an idea into a product. Broadly speaking around one third of chemistry students follow their degree with further learning, with post-graduate research, a teaching qualification or similar. Of these students some will become teachers, other academics, others will work in R&D within industry. Roughly another third will go straight into industry with jobs that require a chemistry degree but are less research orientated. The final third will go into graduate jobs where a degree is needed but the subject is not crucial.

Reflections on WISRNet Shadowing Scheme

Julie Hipperson (Research Student in History, King’s College London) reflects on  her first meeting with Dr Lori Snyder (Reader in Biotechnology, Kingston University) as part of WISRNet’s workshadowing scheme.

I: Lab Coat

The white lab coat which Lori fishes out for me is ill-fitting.  I joke that it’s designed for some broad-shouldered, snake-hipped man and that I’ll have to lose a couple of inches before the next visit.  Lori kindly suggests that maybe we could just find a different coat.  I’m squeezed into this coat on a Monday morning because Lori has agreed to meet me whilst she’s supervising a drop-in lab session at Kingston University, where she is a Reader in Biotechnology, so we could informally introduce ourselves.  Whilst we’re chatting she occasionally breaks off to help a student with questions about their final year projects: one is trying to sterilise a chicken breast to use for his experiment, the other wanting to discuss the timings of her experiment, having missed her opportunity to put them in the autoclave that day (it’s turned on at 10.30am).  Watching these interactions I make a mental note to look up what an autoclave actually does.

From the first female Oxbridge prof to film star Kevin Bacon in just six steps…..

Dorothy Garrod was the first woman to be made an Oxbridge professor. In 1939 she was elected to the Disney Chair in Archaeology at Cambridge University. At that time women were still not allowed to graduate from Cambridge on an equal footing with men, and as such could not vote on university matters, nor serve on the University’s governing council. As a Professor, however, Garrod now had this right. Through the power of her brilliant, world-renowned research, Dorothy Garrod had stormed this last bastion of male academia, nearly ten full years before it was officially ready for her. BOOM!


Image of Dorothy Garrod from Newnham College, Cambridge:

Scotland’s Engineering Pioneers


Watts on Athenaeum

Name me a famous engineer….. now name me one from or connected to Scotland… Easy?
I would hope so, although engineers in general don’t get the kudos in the UK that they do in other countries. All too many non-engineers have this image of an engineer that more closely resembles a motor mechanic than a professional engineer designing structures, machines and products that fill our modern world. In an effort to improve the visibility and status of engineers and engineering in the minds of the general public, the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland launched their Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2011. In the first year the initial 7 inductees into the Hall of fame were all engineers of the past, the really well known names and one or  two surprises.

Looking sideways in science to find the women

Reflections on the WISRNet Workshop on July 16 2013 by Patricia Fara

Dr Patricia FaraWhen I was a PhD student, one of the most useful pieces of advice I received was: ‘Talk to archivists and librarians. They’re the experts on their collections, and they’re the people who can direct you to the gold dust you’re looking for – the long-forgotten documents waiting to be discovered, the surviving records that will bring the past to life and shed new light on old problems.’ And judging from this workshop, the converse must also be true – librarians are longing to meet researchers who will share their enthusiasm for the old documents under their care.

Fractured Histories – Finding Scientific Women in the Archive

By Sue Hawkins

Mary, Countess of Ross

Mary, Countess of Ross

Have you heard of Mary Crosfield, Ethel Woods, EML (Eileen) Hendriks, Eileen Guppy. Or Etheldred Bennett, Charlotte Murchison, Mary Buckland, Muriel Robertson; or perhaps Charlotte Auerbach, Marion Ross, Isabella Gordon or Mary, Countess of Rosse are familiar to you? All these women ‘did’ science and made a significant contribution to their field, but it’s a good bet that almost no-one recognises their names, let alone is aware of their achievements.

Hidden Women of Victorian and Edwardian Science

It is often assumed that there are few women, let alone great women, in the history of science; given the struggle scientific women  faced to find a place to work and gain formal access to the scientific networks of their day, one could ask ‘why so many?’