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"Science Written by Women" is the second set in the series "Popular Science in the Nineteenth Century". The collection offers a picture of the scientific issues which most fascinated the 19th-century audience and demonstrates how science was portrayed by women authors. Though male scientists, especially in the latter half of the century, worked to exclude members of the fair sex from scientific societies as part of their strategy for professionalizing science, women were turning to popular science writing in droves. Mary Somerville is well known for her popularizations of the physical sciences, but many of her sisters in science are not. Throughout the 19th century they were just as important as their male counterparts through their contribution to the explosion of publications on popular science during this period. Some of the more important among those writers in the early and middle periods of the century included Rosina Zornlin, Jane Loudon, Anne Pratt, Elizabeth Twining, Lydia Becker, Arabella Buckley, Sarah Wallis, Mary Kirby and Mary Ward. Drawing on a previously existing tradition of female popularization of science which sanctioned their involvement, women took on the role of moral and religious guides. They wrote about almost every area of scientific knowledge. At the end of the century, women's involvement in popular science writing was still going strong. Though in the 1870s women's colleges had been established in Cambridge, Oxford and London where science could be studied, and though a handful of jobs were available for women, such as the few openings as number crunching computers in the 1890s at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, popular science writing remained one of the few viable options for women interested in becoming part of the scientific world. Agnes Giberne, Agnes Clerke, Eliza Brightwen and Alice Bodington were among the more prominent women who wrote popular science at the end of the century. This set of volumes aims to point to the important role that women played throughout the 19th century in the dissemination of scientific knowledge to an ever-growing reading public.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781843710998
ISBN-10: 1843710994
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 138mm x 28mm)
Pages: 2600
Imprint: Thoemmes Continuum
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 2-Mar-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


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Author Biography - Aileen Fyfe

Bernard Lightman is Professor of Humanities at York University, Toronto. He has published extensively in the history of science and has just been elected editor of Isis.

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