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Patricia Fara

Pandora's Breeches

Women have always found it hard to be admitted into the scientific establishment, and plenty of books have been written about this. Pandora's Breeches by Patricia Fara is a bit different, as it isn't just about the problems women have had, it is more about showing how they have dealt with these problems at different times. But it also highlights the ambivalent attitude of the establishment to women, excluding them from scientific organisations, while personifying the sciences by female figures - in particular Minerva.

One opportuinity which women had was to write popular accounts of scientific work, especially if they were aimed at young ladies. Thus Fara tells of Priscilla Wakefield's account of Linnaeus's classification (in which she removed his overtly sexual descriptions) and of Emilie du Châtelet (sometimes thought of as just Voltaires mistress), who played a significant part in bringing Newton's Principia to a wider audience. There are also stories of husband and wife working together, such as Elisabetha and Johannes Helvelius and Marie Paulze and Antoine Lavoisier. There are also the siblings Caroline and William Herschel. Pandora's Breeches is a well written book, and I think it would suit anyone who wants to understand science's attitude to women and women's attitude to science over the centuries.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 1844130827
Salesrank: 2558611
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2004 Random House UK
Amazon price $13.48
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 288 pages  
ISBN: 1844130827
Salesrank: 714438
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2004 Pimlico
Amazon price £17.13
Marketplace:New from £10.04:Used from £0.85
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 1844130827
Salesrank: 3079200
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2004 Pimlico
Amazon price CDN$ 44.23
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 44.23:Used from CDN$ 1.86
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Product Description
“Had God intended Women merely as a finer sort of cattle, he would not have made them reasonable.” Writing in 1673, Bathsua Makin was one of the first women to insist that girls should receive a scientific education. Despite the efforts of Makin and her successors, women were excluded from universities until the end of the 19th century, yet they found other ways to participate in science. Taking a fresh look at history, Patricia Fara investigates how women contributed to scientific progress. As well as collaborating in home-based research, women corresponded with renowned scholars and simplified important texts. Throughout this work, Fara shows how they played essential roles in work frequently attributed to their husbands or fathers. Patricia Fara lectures on at Cambridge University. She is the author of the highly praised work Newton: The Making of Genius.