Women scientists in fiction

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Tue Jan 3 12:34:39 EST 1995


One fictional portralyal of a woman scientist that has affected a number of
people that I know in childhood is that of Mrs. Murry (Meg's mother) in
the book "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madelaine L'Engle.  The book won a Newberry
award and is considered something of a children's classic, at least here
in the U.S.  Mrs. Murry runs a biology lab off of her kitchen at home, and
thus manages to combine work and family life in an almost seamless fashion,
complete with jokes from the kids about "well, mom, I hope you don't get
any nasty stuff from the lab in with the dinner," or some such.  When I
was 9 and read the book for the first time, the vision was quite appealing,
and even a male friend of mine recently mentioned that he, too, was moved
as a child by the vision of a kins (kind) of bucolic science that wasn't
so divorcedd from the home and family.

You also might want to look at *Beggars in Spain* by Nancy Kress, in which
a woman is heavily involved in the technological advance that enables 
people not to sleep (a science fiction book, obviously), *The Goldbug
Variations* by Richard Powers (young male scientist falls in love with
slightly older female scientist, and becomes obsessed), *Life Before Man*
by Margaret ATwood (Lesje is a paleontologist and museum curator).  I'm,
sure there are others, this is a theme that has interested me too, for
a long time, but I just can't think of them right now--maybe woman
scientists in fiction are still quite rare?  

I would be interested in the list that you complile when you get all the
suggestions.  Could you email it to me?  Thanks!

Karen Allendoerfer, Ph.D.
ravena at cco.caltech.edu



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