You might have read Richard Holmes’ article in the Observer this weekend on the “lost” women of Victorian Science.
As several people pointed out, these people weren’t “lost” to all of us. Anyone with an interest in Victorian popular science will have heard of at least some of these names already. But that doesn’t mean such people are generally known about. Neither does it mean people who didn’t know about these people are somehow ignorant or stupid. Maybe you don’t know about Arabella Buckley, you know other things.
As Holmes himself writes:
Science should sow “seeds”. Science should broadcast, should disperse the seeds of knowledge to all and as imaginatively as possible. Science, and the scientific method, should become a new means of general education and enlightenment, not merely for the elite. Until scientific knowledge was explained, explored and widely understood by the population at large, the work of scientists would always be incomplete.
The same is true for the study of science’s history. It’s all very well sitting there and saying “I knew that already” (as I admit, I smugly did while reading Holmes) but what use is that (unless all you want to be is sit being smug I suppose).
A few people on twitter had the idea for a group-blog on the topic throughout December (i.e. the last month of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary year). Join us! Tell us about a woman of science you think more people should know about, or take the time to do some research into one you’d like to know more about, and then share what you’ve learnt.
We’d like to keep some connection to the Royal Society, so someone connected with UK science is preferred. It’s worth noting that the Royal Society’s journals are free to access until the 30 Nov (right back to 1665), which might be useful for research. Also, to add to the people mentioned by Holmes, there is a good list here.
Have a think and leave a comment here with who you think you’ll write about (you might be able to link up with someone writing about a similar topic). When you’ve posted your piece, leave a link here too, so I can put up a list of all the pieces at the start of the new year, ready for the next 350 years of the Royal Society’s history.
Me, I’ll extend on some of the kids’ writers Holmes mentions (i.e. Arabella Buckley). EDIT: done! Although I do talk about men in that post too, because I don’t really like dividing up history like that.