This blog is currently on hiatus owing to work commitments. Whilst I still keep an eye on the goings on at RiAus, and contribute to the work of the good folks at eLife, little will be added to this blog for the foreseeable future. Simon Says remains open for business, albeit at a reduced capacity. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope the archive of content found here will prove to be of interest.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Monday Nostalgia: Women in Science, know your limits (c. 1971)

THE route to my lab at the University of Birmingham has been the same for three years. Walking from the Selly Oak Grange Road entrance, past the School of Mechanical Engineering and up past the Haworth Building, it was only in the final few weeks of lab work, prior to this period of thesis writing, that I noticed a statue nestled in the gardens. Feeling nostalgic as the realisation dawned that I shall be leaving soon, I took a closer look. The artefact, of wrestling bodies entwined, is now surrounded by plant life, much less prominent than it once was. Beneath it, a plaque describes the statue as a present from postgraduate students of the School of Thermodynamics to Professor F. K. Bannister, who founded the school.

The school is now long defunct, and I had never heard of it - so I went online. What I found was a job advert for the school, written in a style long since abandoned. If you are female, thermodynamics was not a world open to you in 1971, since the advert refers only to the candidate throughout as 'he'. While gender bias in science remains an issue, we can at least be proud that it is moving in the right direction, and has come a long way since 1971. Also present on the page were adverts for the University of Zambia, and a media production role at the Loughborough University, seemingly a pioneer of science outreach.