Category: STEM

Trotula of Salerno: Alleviating the Suffering of Women, Italian (11th Century) by Theresa C. Dintino

Because there are many women who have numerous diverse illnesses—some of them almost fatal—and because they are also ashamed to reveal and tell their distress to any man… to assist women, I intend to write of how to help their secret maladies so that one woman may aid another in her illness and not divulge her secrets. ~Trotula of Salerno, 11th century Italy. Trotula was one of the most famous physicians of her time. Her work was devoted to alleviating the suffering of women. Trotula taught at the school of Salerno, a famous university of the time, and first...

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Alice Catherine Evans: “I Went Beyond the Realms of Your Perceptions” (American 1881-1975)

“In the poverty of your imagination it is easier to believe that the printed word is gospel truth. I went beyond the realms of your perceptions”(Burns 56). In an infuriating assault on her work and discovery, Microbiologist Alice Catherine Evans was asked repeatedly to explain why, if her findings were true, hadn’t anyone else discovered them. What can we infer from this grossly unfair question? That someone else meant a man? Why hadn’t a man discovered it. If it was so obvious, a man would have surely already thought it, discovered it. Not a woman. A woman couldn’t think...

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Rachel Carson: A Woman’s Voice for the Planet, American (1907-1964) by Theresa C. Dintino

When most people think of Rachel Carson, they think of her groundbreaking work Silent Spring which is largely credited for helping to launch the environmental movement and through which she is often said to have “saved the birds.” This “battle cry” book urging us to take a closer look at the use of chemical pesticides led to regulations and restrictions still in place today and the eventual establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.  But what I know and love Rachel Carson best for is her book, The Sea Around Us, in which she speaks of the ocean in eloquent...

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Barbara McClintock: Breaking “Illogical Barriers,” American (1902-1992)

Barbara McClintock once stated that she was “not a feminist” which would, in effect, disqualify her from being on this site. But because her life was completely determined by being a victim of a sexist culture, especially the subculture of a life dedicated to scientific pursuit, and she fought to hold her own and not let it stop her, not let it enslave her, not let it own her, she was, in effect, a feminist. If she lives like a feminist and fights like a feminist and sounds like a feminist then she probably is: A Feminist! She said...

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Marija Gimbutas: Unearthing the Goddess, Rocking My World, Lithuanian-American (1921-1994) by Theresa C. Dintino

I don’t know that there is any book that changed my life more than Marija Gimbutas’ The Language of the Goddess. I cannot remember what my life was like before I opened this book, before I knew these images, these cultures. Most probably they were always there, buried deep in the layers of my consciousness—women’s prehistory—haunting my dreams and moments of deep repose. Marija’s book offered them context.  And that was not a small thing. That was everything. That is but one part of the importance of her work. It gave these “memories,” these images, that lay at the...

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