School houses - scientists

(39 Posts)
Gamache Sun 17-May-15 00:42:19

My two oldest are at primary school, boys 6 and 9, dd starts in September.

Chatting with dc last night about the famous scientists who make up their school houses - Darwin, Faraday, Newton, Einstein.

It suddenly hit me, they are all men! Why are they all flippin men?

We just this term got a new head, I'm thinking I'll email him and suggest they change at least one or two houses to be female scientists.

Any suggestions for what to say? Any references to articles on the importance of female role models, especially in STEM?
Any examples of scientists?

Are all schools like this?

ShadowFire Sun 17-May-15 01:04:49

The only famous female scientists that spring to mind are Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin.

ShadowFire Sun 17-May-15 01:14:25

I think that mentioning the importance of female role models in encouraging girls to study STEM subjects is definitely worthwhile.

STEM subjects and careers still tend to be male dominated (with some exceptions, notably medicine). Sciencey toys tend to be put in the boys section in toy shops which split up toys along gender lines. So including some female scientists would be a useful reminder that science isn't just for boys.

NotAnotherPackedLunchBox Sun 17-May-15 01:21:59

Jocelyn Bell Burnell - astrophysicist who discovered radio pulsars. Her supervisor and another collegue (both male) later got a Nobel Prize for this work...

NotAnotherPackedLunchBox Sun 17-May-15 01:34:02

Dorothy Hodgkin - Nobel prize in Chemistry for x-ray crystallography that lead to the discovery of the structure of molecules such as insulin and vitamin B12

She's probably my favourite as I met her at my first big conference a very long time ago and was completely star struck blush

Gamache Sun 17-May-15 01:57:50

This kind of thing just makes me so annoyed. Trying to bring children up to see men and women as equally capable of anything while all they're fed at school tends to be unthinkingly male focused.
Thanks for the scientist suggestions.

OneDayWhenIGrowUp Sun 17-May-15 02:23:28

Ada Lovelace is a good one as well

messyisthenewtidy Sun 17-May-15 07:14:21

Lise Meitner and Emmy Noether

This kind of thing really annoys me too. If they're going to focus only on male scientists they should at least teach why there were no female ones instead of leaving girls thinking it's simply that they're not up to it.

BuffyNeverBreaks Sun 17-May-15 07:35:37

Excellent point messy. That had never occurred to me before.

18yearstooold Sun 17-May-15 08:02:07

Dd's school have burnell and franklin as 2 of their houses

Obviously more progressive than I realised!

Bolshybookworm Sun 17-May-15 08:04:08

Barbara McClintock-

Anne Mclaren

Will say these examples are rare though because at least in the biosciences, women are treated fairly abysmally. I worked as a research scientist for over a decade and saw plenty of sexual harassment (particularly of female phd students), bullying, and women being made redundant/sidelined if they got pregnant or had children. My cohort of fellow students were the high achievers at uni- all got 1sts, prizes etc, all did well at phd level. Yet we're all dropping out of research now we've had kids, it's extremely depressing. Such a waste of talent.

Encourage girls into STEM subjects (a STEM degree is valuable in the job market), but don't, for the love of god, encourage them to go into research.

stoopstoconker Sun 17-May-15 08:09:01

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson & Elizabeth Blackwell

MaraThonbar Sun 17-May-15 08:14:15

Ada Lovelace - arguably the first computer programmer.

Nolim Sun 17-May-15 08:20:50

Second noether and lovelace

stoopstoconker Sun 17-May-15 08:23:26

btw thank you for that Scitable site Bolshybookworm .

SanityClause Sun 17-May-15 08:25:24

Hedy Lamar invented wifi. She is more usually remembered for being a glamorous Hollywood film actress.

NickySummerbee Sun 17-May-15 08:27:47

Marie Stopes was a scientist before she went into birth control. She was the first female academic ever at Manchester University when she lectured there. Probably a bit controversial for a primary school though.

TheBlackRider Sun 17-May-15 12:11:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RiskManagement Sun 17-May-15 12:28:02

Marie Curie is always one. My DC's school have 6 houses and include Helen Keller

OrlandoWoolf Sun 17-May-15 13:14:13

Mary Anning - female paleontologist

slightlyeggstained Sun 17-May-15 13:25:21

Worth pointing out that their list is extremely physics heavy - I didn't take Biology for GCSE because I'd got the impression there was a hierarchy, and I was already doing the "important" science.

Dorothy Hodgkins would fit as chemistry. If you keep Darwin for biology and Faraday for physics, then which other science would you pick?

OneDayWhenIGrowUp Sun 17-May-15 13:26:48

Lovelace for mathmatics/computing grin

What about female engineers?

slightlyeggstained Sun 17-May-15 14:29:13

I know Lovelace is the first, but would be inclined to pick a later female computer scientist/mathematician - so that kids realise there is still plenty to discover/do!

E.g. Admiral Grace Hopper (large parts of the banking system still use the language she designed).

slightlyeggstained Sun 17-May-15 14:32:42

Or - the woman who had a Google Doodle recently - Inge Lehmann, who discovered the Earth's core. Never heard of her till then, but it's such a cool thing, I would have been really excited to hear about her as a kid.

HagOtheNorth Sun 17-May-15 14:38:28

Orlando, we always have Mary Anning as a topic focus at some point in the year for Y3&4. smile
Maybe in the future, it won't be so much of a struggle to instantly name female scientists.

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