How much do you know about famous scientists?
The practice of the different branches of science has been carried out by women and men throughout history, although, depending on the time, women have been traditionally excluded from such work. In Ancient Egypt women practiced medicine, and in classical Greece, although it was they who went down in history as the thinkers who questioned the great questions of the universe, but also highlighted notable philosophers by then.
In In the Middle Ages, women were excluded from the universities that began to be founded in Europe from the late 11th century onwards. During this period, convents provided havens where they could become important scholars, and many women around the world wrote, researched and practiced.caban medicine and herbalism in their homes and communities at that time.
Already in the Renaissance, higher studies were available only to those who came from particularly enlightened and wealthy families, and this was also the case for a few women.
In the 18th century, the Enlightenment brought new opportunities for some. At the University of Bologna in Italy, Newtonian physicist Laura Bassi was appointed professor of anatomy and experimental philosophy, making her the first woman in the world to hold such positions. Pope Benedict XIV awarded mathematics Mary Gaetana Agnesi a chair, which he held as an honorary degree at the same university. In France, the high social status of mathematicians Émilie du Châtelet, who carried out some of their most influential work in the 1730s, and Sophie Germain, who excelled in the late 1700s and early 1800s, allowed them to work independently and receive recognition from their male peers.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the founding of universities for women provided a clear career path for women scientists for the first time. Although some women were able to serve as scientists, many benefited from what has been described as the ‘harem effect’, in which male scientists employed groups of female assistants. During this period, many women made significant contributions to science, although they were not always equally recognized as their male peers.
Today, almost 50% of medical degrees and doctorates in biomedical sciences are awarded to women. The number of college students in mathematics and physical sciences was approaching similar levels, and only in computer science and engineering are female students still significantly underrepresented.
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