Science Diversity Meme

Science, Education and Society is running up a Science Diversity Meme focusing on Women Scientists.

You are supposed to make a list of five women in each of the following fields, without looking at any resources …. just what you know in your head … and without using names of any one at your current institution. (That is rather difficult if you’ve been at a major research institution for ten years, but easier if you’ve just moved between institutions!)

Here are the disciplines:

Biomedical & Medicine
Space & Planetary Sciences

So, you make the list somewhere. If on a new blog, I guess you link back to the original here and go there and put a comment (I’m not sure how this works as a meme, actually).

Here is the list I get when I combine the fields in a way that makes sense to me and put down what I can think of right here, right now:

Major Discipline Fields:
Astronomy and physics combined

Henrietta Something…The lady who worked at Harvard Observatory and helped discover binary stars.
Jocelyn Bell (Pulsars)
Rosie Franklin
Madam Curie
Maria Goppert (sp?) (atomic structure)
Lisa Randall
Helen Hogg

Biology, Biomedical and Medicine combined

Beatrix Potter (fungus)
Jane Goodall
B. McClintock
M.E. Ruvulo
C. Knott
A. Yoder
Linda Buck!
Helen Keller
Rosalyn Yalow
Rosie Franklin
Florence Nightingale
Hilde Mangold (would have won a Nobel if she hadn’t died tragically)
Salome Glueksohn-Schoenheimer
Rita Levi-Montalcini
Marianne Bronner-Fraser
Nicole Le Douarin
Chritiane Nusslein-Volhard (Nobel laureate)
Carla Shatz
Susan McConnell

There are no women chemists. No wait, there are..

Madam Lavoisier, wife of somebody.
Judy Sealey
Susan Young
Sara/Sarah Wilson? (South Africa)
Marie Curie
Helen Joliot-Curie

I only know geographers from my own institution.

Geology and earth/space/planetery sciences
Kay Behrensmyer
Mary Lyell
Emi Ito

Elizabeth Loftus
Brenda Milner
Doreen Kimura

This is not bad for me. I could probably do only a little better naming men from many of these fields. Can you fill in some of the blanks?


Here is the original meme.


  1. #1 Charles
    March 9, 2008

    For Physics, you might want to toss in Lisa Randall, she’s theoretical high energy physics, if I remember right, and recently put out a book “Warped Passages”

  2. #2 Maria
    March 9, 2008


    In Biolog(y), are B. McClintock and Barbara McClintock the same person?

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    March 9, 2008

    There is a very subtle difference between the two. In one of them, the first “c” is silent, in the other, the second “C” is silent.

    Lisa Randall added!

  4. #4 Romeo Vitelli
    March 9, 2008

    The only field I know that well is psychology and I can think of quite a few female psychologists, i.e., Elizabeth Loftus, Brenda Milner, Doreen Kimura, etc.
    For the others, let’s see…
    For astronomy, I can name Helen Hogg off the bat (she was Canadian).
    For biology and medicine, Helen Keller is listed? What were her accomplishments? I can give you Florence Nightingale,
    For chemistry Marie Curie and her daughter Helen Joliot-Curie (they were as much chemists as physicists).
    Don’t know about the other discipline.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    March 9, 2008

    OK, we’ll start the practice of double-listing some of the scientists in more than one category.

  6. #6 blue collar scientist
    March 9, 2008

    Do you mean Henrietta Swan Leavitt? She discovered the luminosity/period relationship for Cepheid variable stars, allowing them to be used to measure distances. It is arguably the most significant discovery in the history of astronomy (I argue that it is, at least).

  7. #7 The Urban Scientist
    March 10, 2008

    Great job! I’m excited and I’m learning so much. Thanks for the additions.

  8. #8 rjb
    March 11, 2008

    In my subdiscipline (developmental biology), there is actually a pretty fair representation of high profile female scientists going back about a century. To name a few (:

    Hilde Mangold (would have won a Nobel if she hadn’t died tragically)

    Salome Glueksohn-Schoenheimer

    Rita Levi-Montalcini (one of my all-time science heroes!! Discovered NGF!! Continued work in Italy during WWII!! Nobel laureate)

    Marianne Bronner-Fraser

    Nicole Le Douarin

    Chritiane Nusslein-Volhard (Nobel laureate)

    Carla Shatz

    Susan McConnell

    Just to name a few

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    March 12, 2008

    I’m in space and planetary sciences, so that field is easy for me:

    Marcia Neugebauer
    Margaret Kivelson
    Janet Luhmann
    Pierette Decreau
    Ingrid Sandahl

    and there are many others.

    Among physicists:

    Mildred Dresselhaus
    Vera Kistiakowsky
    Lise Meitner
    C. C. Wu (did the experiment that confirmed parity violation; I don’t recall what the initials stand for, and am not sure I got them right)
    Deborah Jin

  10. #10 The Urban Scientist
    April 6, 2008

    Thanks for participating in the Science Diversity Meme – Women in Science. I’ve summarized the Meme and catalogued many of the submitted names. Visit the Women in Science Summary at my blog.


  11. #11 chezjake
    April 7, 2008

    I’m late to the game, but no biologist over 50 can deny the place of Libby Henrietta Hyman, the comparative anatomist we all learned from.