Prof. Dawn Digrius (Asst. Professor, History) presented her latest research at the History of Science Society in San Diego on November 16. Her paper, entitled "Under the Microscope: Mary Ward, Matilda Knowles and Sydney Mary Thompson Christen, Three Irish Ladies of the Laboratory", was presented in a session entitled "Experts, Collectors, and Credit" chaired by Dr. Pam Henson of the Smithsonian Institution. Her abract is below:
During the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century, when scientific studies of the natural world were common practice amongst men, several brave women stepped forward to take an important, yet somewhat overlooked role in their development. In Ireland in particular, women such as Mary Ward, Sydney Mary Thompson Christen, and Matilda Knowles brushed off the biases against women in science, providing unique insight into the fields of microscopy, botany and geology. This paper examines the lives of these researchers, disclosing their struggles for recognition in a predominately male-centered science, as well as highlights the contributions they made to their respective fields. These three wonderfully energetic and purposeful Irish women represent individuals who made remarkable, yet often unrecognized contributions to science. I hope to draw from their experiences and works to reveal the important role they played in the development of Modern Ireland, and more specifically, in the development of Irish natural science during the twentieth century.