SciFli(ckr): Smithsonian's photo gallery of Women in Science

I'm an unabashed Flickr addict. I'd take it over myfriendsterfacebook any day. It's the ultimate way to feel connected to what my friends and family are up to, it's great for sharing work with my design students as well as for them to share their own work with me, and it allows me to transport myself to places I've been and love with the click of a button (ie: search> Lake District, England—voila—utter peace and relaxation ensue).

Flickr is where I keep myself connected, albeit loosely, to the Smithsonian Institution, where I did a summer internship back in the day. The Smithsonian is relatively new to Flickr, with only 15 sets of photos—but each one is a treasure trove of American history/science/culture. They cover everything from astronomy to industrial design to American history. And what should show up on their page the other day? A fantastic set of photographs called Women in Science. Here's how the Smithsonian describes it:

In honor of International Women's Day 2009 and Women's History Month, the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) is pleased to present a sampling of images documenting women scientists and engineers from around the world, most of whom were pioneers in their respective fields, or were the first women to receive advanced graduate degrees in their discipline.

It's a great way to get your feet wet in these often forgotten histories. While some are well known figures (Rachel Carson, Betty Naomi Friedan), I can honestly say that most of the women were new to me. Have a look for yourself...I guarantee you'll get sucked in.

by Briar Levit
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4 Comments Have Been Posted

One more reason to love Flickr.

Great find, Briar. Can't wait to check it out.

Yeah, Science!!

I think that it is cool that the Smithsonian is doing something for Women's History Month; especially dealing with the women of science. I am studying biology as a major and the classes barely talk about the women of science. The ones they do talk about found things that were huge to science. So it is good to see the ones that found little things as well.

Science is good food, for your mind!

Oh, this post fills me with such effusive gratitude - to Briar, so many thanks for your posts and for this fantastic link, to the Smithsonian, for assembling the images themselves, and of course, inexpressibly, to all the women of science featured in this exhibit and those who remain unseen.
I adore "science" - as an enterprise, as an abstract concept, and as a wellspring of knowing. I'm not a scientist, but it's from the world of scientific discovery that I draw most of my inspiration. Yet simultaneously I'm well-aware of the long sexism woven into the history of western science, and though (with the help of the women highlighted in the Smithsonian collection) enormous strides have been made, the bias remains. Everybody knows the stereotypes of the repressed but lovely lab aide, or the astoundingly sexy lady-technician who finally falls for our masculine hero, and of course the girl who doesn't understand. For so long, after all, much of European classical traditions and even rationalism held that women possessed inferior capacities for discipline and logical thought, effectively closing the doors of scientific education to female participation. Now - and there's an acknowledgment of this in the academic community - so unfortunately, many young women aren't at all attracted to science at all, and I've read some interviews in which students admit they feel it's just not interesting for a modern girl. I'm not a scientist, as I said, but this is only because I chose writing and philosophy for my own sake; I did major in the philosophy of science, because I just couldn't leave the system of ideas alone.
Moreover, however, I have known a number of feminists who claim that scientific endeavors themselves are unfeminist (!) and such activities possess intrinsically masculinist motives and outcomes. I'm not so sanguine as to ignore facts like historical racist, misogynist, and genocidal pseudosciences, but I think it a grave mistake to reject science entirely. It's vital that one distinguishes between the insidious and patriarchal ends to which science has been turned and between scientific inquiry on its own. Hell, any number of studies show: women really are Homo sapiens, and race does not determine intelligence... Science overwhelms me with the entire unfurling enthrallment of discovery, knowing, finding stuff out (in this I see its intertwining and simultaneity with art), and this belongs to all people, everyobdy, everywhere...
Again, a fantastic link!

Women of Science

What a charming set of photos! It's heartening to have this documentation of women's ongoing role in the many facets of science.

As a former SI intern myself, I'll have to keep an eye on their photosets!

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