Margaret Huggins; astronomer. Image: https://eee.uci.edu/clients/bjbecker/ExploringtheCosmos/week7b.html

Margaret Huggins; astronomer.

The Women in Science Research Network (WISRNet) is a cross-disciplinary network of academics, archivists and practising scientists who have come together to examine the participation of women in learned scientific societies, from the early 19th century to current times.  By sharing cross disciplinary methodologies we will explore what each group might learn from the other and engage in a wider history of how gender affects authority, expertise, recognition and involvement in science. The project time frame extends back to 1830, to include the election as honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville in 1835, and continues through to the present day.

This is a collaborative project by Kingston University, the University of Liverpool, the Royal Society and the Rothschild Archive. It is funded by the AHRC as part of its ‘Science in Culture’ programme.

Aims and Objectives:

    • Identify archives with collections relating to women scientists within specific scientific societies.
    • Identify subjects for case studies, both in terms of institutions and individuals.
    • Identify methods for retrieving and analysing often disparate and dispersed information.
    • Identify the efficacy, content and direction a larger scale project might take.
    • Inform data collection policies of scientific societies on their current members, to ensure creation of meaningful datasets for the future.
    • Contribute to wider studies of gender and diversity in the workplace.
    • Define a large-scale research history project which will explore the intersections between culture and science to identify how, historically, these have influenced scientific women’s participation.