brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Cary Kittrell cary at
Mon Jul 15 17:33:06 EST 2002

In article <m3hej0kihu.fsf at> Tom Breton <tehom at> writes:
<Bob LeChevalier <lojbab at> writes:
<[I'd like to trim the newsgroups line but I'm not sure where you're
<reading this, I'm reading it in bionet.neuroscience]
<> "John Knight" <johnknight at> wrote:
<> >The simple fact that they have to go back a century and dredge up a woman
<> >who got a Nobel Prize BECAUSE her husband requested she be added to the list
<> >is proof enough of the lack of women Nobel Prize winners, eh?
<> lists 30 women who won Nobel prizes, many of them in the sciences, 
<John left himself totally open to that, but (eg) Mother Theresa's
<peace prize still doesn't demonstrate female intellectual achievement.
<> despite
<> the fact that because of sexism, women have had few opportunities to work in
<> the sciences.
<I don't buy it.  I've seen too much phony Feminist history already.
<We're told women couldn't own property, false, we're told women
<couldn't vote in the USA before 1920 (try 1869), we're told a lot of
<untrue things.
<It's clear to me the real sexist zeitgeist is pushing in the opposite
<direction.  That impression is underlined when I see Grace Hopper's
<and Marie Curie's workaday contributions exaggerated to the point of
<being called world-class achievements.  It is confirmed by the quality
<of OhSojourner's list.  Clearly many people want very badly to see
<women as more accomplished than they actually are.

Well, as a nice counter-balance, you might read "A Feeling for the
Organism", a biography of Barbara McClintock.  McClintock won
her (quite belated) Nobel for her intuition that bits of the
chromosomes must on occasion move from place to place to account
for the patterns she observed over a lifetime of studying
the genetics of corn.  Her insights -- which she arrived at purely
by observing generations of corn and studying their chromosomes under
the microscope, none of techniques of molecular biology existed at the
time -- the were roundly rejected until the development of these
techniques demonstrated that she was correct.  Today of course,
transposons are a standard part of genetic theory.

McClintock, characteristically, regarded all the fuss attending
her Prize as an annoying distraction from her work.

-- cary

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