By Marelene F. Rayner-Canham, Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham
This paintings comprises biographical essays on 23 ladies who labored in atomic technological know-how throughout the first twenty years of the 20 th century, together with Marie Curie, Lise Meitner, Irene Joliot-Curie, and a bunch of lesser-known girls scientists whose existence tales have by no means earlier than been informed. The biographies spotlight the lives and paintings of those girls, noting their contributions and the demanding situations they confronted and overcame. Taken jointly the essays list their collective reports, highlighting the help community that constructed between them and the explanations ladies have been extra foremost during this box within the early a part of this century than in different sciences. through recuperating and recording person and collective histories of the various eminent girls in radioactivity whose paintings had an immense impression at the clinical discoveries of the final century, a extra whole, gender-integrated view of the historical past of this interesting box emerges.
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Extra resources for A Devotion to Their Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity
38 Rutherford, too, failed to recognize the hazards of radiation, the most vivid example involving a visit to Dartmouth College as part of a lecture tour of the United States. During his demonstrations, Rutherford discarded the paper that he had used to transfer some radium salt into a tube. 41 Perhaps as a result of those close escapes and her frequent exposure to radiation, the last paper that she published described some of the health problems at the institutes in Paris, Vienna, and Berlin. She commented that a number of the participants, such as Sonia Cotelle and Debierne, died from radiation-related diseases.
She was led even to question the value of her own life: "My plans for the future? I have none, or rather they are so commonplace and simple that they are not worth talking about. I mean to get through as well as I can, and when I can do no more, say farewell to this base world. "8 Yet the position as governess did not destroy completely Curie's self-confidence and intellectual drive. Throughout her stay with the Zorawskis, she continued to prepare for formal higher studies, no matter how elusive they came to seem.
21 To decide to go to college, then, was a brave act. It required a strong self-image, particularly if the family held to the conventional view that a well-brought-up Victorian or Edwardian girl should stay quietly at home until a suitor appeared on the horizon. Moreover, it was an avenue open only to the daughters of the expanding middle class, the rapidly growing business and professional sectors of society. 23 Although the information is incomplete, one or both of these factors are apparent in the lives of many of the women discussed in this compilation.