More students writing about scientists! Not only do they get to learn about some cool science, they get to think about how communication can impact the take away message. Over half the students in our program are girls and yet our ‘wall of scientists photos are predominantly men. The students could write about either gender of scientist – but had to follow some rules.
How should we increase the profile of women scientists 1? People do write about women scientists but there is a certain approach where the scientists are often described first as a woman and then a scientist. In response, the Finkbeiner test was developed where a story cannot mention:
- The fact that she’s a woman
- Her husband’s job
- Her child care arrangements
- How she nurtures her underlings
- How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field
- How she’s such a role model for other women
- How she’s the “first woman to…”
This year, the students had to follow the Finkbeiner rules when their subject was a women OR they could break all the rules when talking about men. One student commented that writing all this extra stuff about a man scientist made me discount his work a bit. This student is used to thinking of male scientists as super-human, not as real people. I think it reinforces the idea that woman scientists should have their science described first and foremost. However, it could be that we need to break a few rules now and again so students don’t realize that scientists are human.
I’ve provided links to all the student’s profiles. Can you let them know if they passed the test?
- Gertrude B Elion
- Rita Levi-Montalcini
- Maria Mitchell
- Barbara McClintock
- Florence Nightingale
- Patricia Bath
- Gerty Cori
- Dorothy Hodgkin
Last year’s posts about women scientists.
Update: Added A. G. Bell on March 16, 2014