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Dorothy Hodgkin, who discovered the structure of insulin  (Source: vcharkam)
Survey indicates a majority of the British population cannot name one female scientist

According to a recent poll by ICM, a public opinion researcher from England, two-thirds of British population (who participated in the survey) cannot name even one famous female scientist.

The Royal Society, which is a fellowship of individuals who represent all areas of science, organized this survey. The poll showed that almost half of the participants were able to identify at least one male scientist while two-thirds could not name even one female scientist.

Furthermore, 90 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds could not name a current or historical female scientist. Lorna Casselton, Vice President of the Royal Society, said these results were "frustrating."

The number of those who were aware of female scientific figures in the poll were very low, with 18 percent who identified Dorothy Hodgkin as the creator of the structure of insulin, and only six percent who identified Jocelyn Bell Burnell as the scientist who played a role in the discovery of pulsar stars. 

Other results were that 20 percent of 1,000 adults chose "Nobel prize-winning scientist" as the best role model for their daughters. These adults were given six role model choices to choose from, ranging from doctor to lawyer and pop star to athlete. Almost half chose "life-saving doctor" as their first choice. 

"People are still unaware of the contribution made by women to science in the past, [but] overall I am encouraged by the findings of this poll," said Casselton. "They suggest public perceptions of women in science are changing. [We] want to encourage more girls (and their parents) to see science as an achievable and desirable career path. Most importantly, we want to encourage them to see science not only as a fulfilling career, but one that can change the world and contribute to our quality of life."

In other news, the United States government is encouraging Indian women to enter science and technology-related fields by offering research fellowships and internships that could bring these women to the U.S. With support of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, the U.S. embassy New Delhi created a one-day workshop about women in science where many young women in high school and above listened to female business leaders encourage them to "stick with science."

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We're superficial
By corduroygt on 8/27/2010 10:02:23 AM , Rating: 4
Thinking about it, the only female scientist I can name off the top of my head is Marie Curie. Unfortunately, women have to impress with their looks before any of their other qualities are even considered.

RE: We're superficial
By Spivonious on 8/27/2010 10:16:59 AM , Rating: 5
Curie's the one that came to my mind too.

As someone who works in a laboratory, I can attest that there is nothing hotter than a cute girl in a lab coat.

RE: We're superficial
By Hyperion1400 on 8/27/2010 12:32:59 PM , Rating: 1
Orly? The Catholic school girl uniform begs to differ.

Come to think of it, Curie and Salk are the only two that I can name off the top of my head, without cheating and using wiki that is.

RE: We're superficial
By MrTeal on 8/27/2010 1:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
You mean Jonas Salk?

Maybe you should have consulted Wikipedia.

RE: We're superficial
By Hyperion1400 on 8/27/2010 1:08:17 PM , Rating: 2
*&^#, I always do that. No matter how many times I drill it into my skull I always wind of thinking Jonas Salk is a woman.

RE: We're superficial
By aegisofrime on 8/27/2010 1:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, it should have occurred to you that Jonas isn't a very feminine name.

RE: We're superficial
By MrTeal on 8/27/2010 1:23:39 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know about that, it's possible the Jonas brothers have stripped all the masculinity out of that name.

RE: We're superficial
By Hyperion1400 on 8/27/2010 6:52:05 PM , Rating: 3

We have a winner^^^

Believe it or not I used to know girl named Jonas. I have never met a guy named Jonas though(nor have I seen one on TV...), which is probably why I am always confusing Mr. Salks gender xD

RE: We're superficial
By foolsgambit11 on 8/28/2010 12:30:54 AM , Rating: 2
Really? My name is Jonas. I'm carrying the wheel.

RE: We're superficial
By Hyperion1400 on 8/28/2010 12:58:27 AM , Rating: 2
Someones been playing too much Guitar Hero^^^

RE: We're superficial
By rdhood on 8/27/2010 1:25:24 PM , Rating: 3
I think that it comes with the relative importance of their find/discovery/work. Marie Curie due to the importance of nuclear energy and atomic weapons. Another female scientist that comes to mind is Rosalind Franklin. Had she lived, she would have received a Nobel for the co-finding of structure of DNA. Without her, the mystery of DNA would have remained for at least a few more years. But I remember her because the structure of DNA is one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. Sorry, but there aren't a lot of women involved in the truly great discoveries.

RE: We're superficial
By FoundationII on 8/28/2010 5:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, Franklin and Curie are the first I thought of too.

However I don't know the gender of about half the scientists I can name for sure though. I only know their last names.

RE: We're superficial
By hughlle on 8/28/2010 4:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
Other than huge world changing scientists, i think i'd have a hard time naming male or female scientists :)

RE: We're superficial
By GreenEnvt on 8/27/2010 10:19:59 AM , Rating: 4
That's the only one I can name of the top of my head too.
Of course, I can't name that many male scientists either..

RE: We're superficial
By MozeeToby on 8/27/2010 11:38:00 AM , Rating: 3
You're not thinking along the right lines I imagine, once you get rolling I bet you could think of at least a dozen historical male scientists (and I admit to Curie being pretty much the only female scientist that I can think of off the top of my head).

Male scientists are easy though... Newton, Kepler, Boyle, Tesla, Franklin, Archimedes, Turing (which by association reminds of Ada Lovelace, so I'm up to two females), Bohr, Oppenheimer, Einstein, Edison, Maxwell, Crick. And that's without cheating and just listing off names of various laws, unites, space missions, or museums. If you did that you could probably come up with another 30 or 40 more given the time.

To be fair, female scientists, especially ones who are actually acknowledged for their work, are a relatively modern phenomenon. Many of the people on my list above are quite historical, from times before female scientists were common or credited with their work.

RE: We're superficial
By corduroygt on 8/27/2010 12:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
Just think of measurement units and constants and you've already got a bunch :)

RE: We're superficial
By Hyperion1400 on 8/27/2010 12:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot Planck! How could you forget PLANCK! XD

RE: We're superficial
By rudy on 8/27/2010 12:41:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ya but you do not count because you could name a female.

RE: We're superficial
By menace on 8/27/2010 4:30:46 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah modern science research seems so esoteric and incremental nowadays it's hard to view the achievements as meaningful breakthroughs. The most noticable achievements (e.g. LHC) are result of combined efforts supported by national and international teams. About the only name from my lifetime that sticks is Hawking and if it were not for his physical condition I seriously doubt he would be nearly so universally recognizable by the general public.

RE: We're superficial
By Pandamonium on 8/27/2010 10:21:03 AM , Rating: 3
Academic science is also not exactly female friendly. The tenure committees are largely chaired by older men who grew up before the women's movement blew up to what it is today. If you're a woman planning on earning a PhD and then tenure, you can generally expect to forego motherhood. Men trying to make tenure regularly clock 60-80hr weeks in the lab for the 5-7 years leading up to their tenure review. A woman who values having a family can't compete with that. It's tough, and I'm glad I'm not a female scientist.

corduroygt: Women don't need to impress with looks if their publication list is extensive and in prominent journals... They exist, but the numbers game just doesn't play in their favor in scientific research.

RE: We're superficial
By The Raven on 8/27/2010 11:23:12 AM , Rating: 2
Curie was the first and only one that I thought of too.

And likewise there aren't many male scientists that I can think of either. Einstein, Fermi, Tesla, Bell, Mendel, Darwin, G.W. Carver, Pasteur, off the top of my head. And I certainly don't know all of their research and discoveries either.

But for them to use these 2 examples as the most prominant female scientists perplexes me. Dorothy Hodgkin and Jocelyn Bell Burnell? (Maybe they were just looking for English female scientists.)

But if I knew who Dorothy Hodgkin was before I knew who Frederick Banting, J.J.R. Macleod, Charles Best, James Collip, or Frederick Sanger were it would only be because she is a woman and not because of the size of her contribution. Isn't that sexism? (And I am not going to memorize that list.)

And female astronomers? Do those exist? Well there was Sally Ride but she just rode around in a rocket, right? She wasn't a scientist was she? How stupid are these people who conduct these studies? I'd like to know how many Mexican scientists they can name and then we'll talk. (Or better yet; female Mexican scientists.)

Want a list of female astronomers (scientists) check wikipedia for a list of role models and stop trying to reach for a celebrity and apprieciate these people for who they are and what they have done. Nothing more.

This is rediculous.

RE: We're superficial
By CZroe on 8/28/2010 1:44:00 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. It is to be REdiculed.

RE: We're superficial
By The Raven on 9/7/2010 10:49:59 AM , Rating: 2
By bill4 on 8/27/2010 8:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
Survey: UK Public is Unaware of Female Scientists Tiffany Kaiser -

How did I know?

Anyways who cares, There arent any female scientists and those there are are just building on what their male counterparts have laid the groundwork and structure for them. Just more government sponsored hogwash.

RE: lol
By bill4 on 8/27/2010 8:51:05 PM , Rating: 1
The reason there are no women scientists is because women are less intelligent.

RE: lol
By the3monkies on 8/28/2010 2:22:44 AM , Rating: 3
Somebody's not getting laid.

RE: lol
By B3an on 8/28/2010 3:47:18 AM , Rating: 1
It's taboo, but woman are less intelligent at things like this. There are some that are very good at it and can match any male, but in general they just aint interested as much in it, and usually are not as good as it. There brains simply are not made for this stuff as well. Male and female brains physically differ in some areas, and some parts are used more than others.

RE: lol
By PaterPelligrino on 8/28/2010 5:05:27 AM , Rating: 2
I think much of this is cultural. For example, global surveys of gender differences in math ability have shown that the gap is very large in countries where women are considered intellectually inferior and/or not encouraged to pursue math, while in Scandinavian countries, noted for their sexual equality, there is no gap at all.

This is a review of a recent book that challenges the idea that there are innate intellectual differences between the male and female brains.

And I have to agree with 3monkies: the guys who publicly flaunt their contempt of women are usually the ones who aren't getting any.

the cause should be clear
By invidious on 8/27/2010 11:15:28 AM , Rating: 5
Furthermore, 90 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds could not name a current or historical female scientist. Lorna Casselton, Vice President of the Royal Society, said these results were "frustrating."
If female scientists become frustrated by simple statistics like this then it should be no surprise that there are so few famous female scientists...

Sorry, I know its terrible, but reading that quote made me laugh out loud. Had to post it.

RE: the cause should be clear
By The Raven on 8/27/2010 11:27:53 AM , Rating: 2

Yes no disrespect to female scientists but you have to know what you are up against before you get into it. Research is usually very time consuming and frustrating from what I know. That is why it is called a job.

And most women aren't that shallow to where such a statistic would worry them.

Curious Ommission
By rgsaunders on 8/27/2010 12:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
I find it strange that an article of this nature, on what is primarily a computer technology site, omits any mention of Countess Ada Lovelace, widely acknowledged as the first computer programmer. Her contributions had been recognized by the US D0D in their assignment of the MIL-STD-1815 to the computer language Ada, created for them in the late 70's. See for further info

RE: Curious Ommission
By CU on 8/27/2010 1:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
She is the first and only one I could name. But I have my Master's in Computer Science. And Ada 95 was my first language in college, I new others before Ada though.

RE: Curious Ommission
By Cr0nJ0b on 8/27/2010 4:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
My first thought was Grace Hopper, for COBOL, but i have to admit that I had to wiki here to find the name. I had the picture in my mind of an old lady in a uniform, but forgotthe name.

This isn't a bias against female scientists
By MrTeal on 8/27/2010 11:51:29 AM , Rating: 3
If you look at the link, they claim that almost half the 18-24 year old women could name at least one male scientist, as if that was some kind of feat. I'll assume that the 10% that could name a female scientist could also name a male one, so of the people polled, OVER 50% can't name a single scientist.

Given the much greater number of male scientists in history, it's hardly surprising it's easier to name a famous male scientist. I think a bigger issue here is that this group of people is so out of touch that they can't name Einstein as a scientist. It's not a bias against female scientists, it's a combination of a lesser number of female scientists and the staggering ignorance of the people being polled.

And to be fair, while I consider astronomy a hobby of mine and spend a decent amount of time reading about it, if someone on the street asked me to name the woman who was involved with the discovery of pulsars all they would get is a blank stare.

By corduroygt on 8/27/2010 12:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the link, they claim that almost half the 18-24 year old women could name at least one male scientist, as if that was some kind of feat.

I bet 95% of them said Albert Einstein

The audience
By Rakanishu on 8/27/2010 2:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
I think I speak for the majority of the readers on this site when I say.. what's a female?

RE: The audience
By ClownPuncher on 8/27/2010 3:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
You bring up a good point; most people geeky enough to idolize scientists enough to be able to name many of them probably have very little experience with women in general. Or is that a stereotype? Nah...

By NainoKami on 8/28/2010 3:34:22 AM , Rating: 2
It may just be me, but I would've thought historically there have been a vast amount more male scientists, than women. This is probably changing, and i believe it's for the better, but wouldn't it make sense, given the large difference in numbers of male vs. female scientists that one would be more likely to know a male one?

Just a thought...

RE: Proportions...
By sleepeeg3 on 8/28/2010 3:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
Stop using logic!

By DominionSeraph on 8/29/2010 4:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
The poll showed that almost half of the participants were able to identify at least one male scientist while two-thirds could not name even one female scientist.

Ok, how is it news that 66% cannot name a female scientist when >50% cannot name a male one? I would think it newsworthy that there's that small a gap.

RE: Context
By LoweredExpectations on 8/30/2010 7:29:24 AM , Rating: 2
20% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth.

Disappointed in the geeks
By jonnyrocket on 8/29/2010 8:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
Not a single mention of Grace Hopper who coined the phase "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck in a relay of her vintage computer.

I am having old-timers remembering the name of the two brainy sisters. Russell of something like that. One was profiled in Discover a few years ago - an astrophysicist at Harvard, the other is a computer sci professor at Ga Tech.

RE: Disappointed in the geeks
By rgsaunders on 8/29/2010 10:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
That story about the origin of the term bug in the error context is myth, the term actually predates the Grace Hopper incident by at least 50 years as indicated in a letter by Thomas Edison in 1878.

Dumbing Down
By theunit on 8/27/2010 1:28:24 PM , Rating: 1
It doesn't help that our government is deliberately dumbing us down by all these toxic chemicals in our food and water. No wonder why we can name some female scientists that provide a better future for humanity.

RE: Dumbing Down
By bill4 on 8/27/2010 8:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't help that our government is deliberately dumbing us down by all these toxic chemicals in our food and water

Well they did a bang up job on you. Go back to english class buddy.

By choadenstein on 8/27/2010 10:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
UK Public is Unaware of Female Scientists

That's because Female Scientists all have the innate power of invisibility!!!

No wonder...
By kontorotsui on 8/27/2010 11:03:11 AM , Rating: 2
Until last century the only respectable career for a woman was housewife.
Marie Curie comes to the mind because she was an exception. Probably the only famous one. And because her (and her husband anyway) achievements were ground breaking.

Today science is collective and short stepped, fast paced, very specialized. No much chance to be the new Newton or Einstein. Even Hawkings is a sort of exception and probably better known also due to the illness.

These results...
By AssBall on 8/27/10, Rating: 0
RE: These results...
By Camikazi on 8/27/2010 4:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
I was never all that sure he was human to begin with.

By rudy on 8/27/2010 12:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
This article misses the point that most people probably the same 2/3 could not name any scientist other then ultra famous figures like Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton. People you learn about over and over every year of your life K-12.

These same people are unlikly to be able to name any modern scientist other than Hawkings and I bet they would have no clue what he has done.

Maybe there is another reason...
By sleepeeg3 on 8/28/2010 3:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
If the most notable contributions to science that women have achieved are obscure fields like the discovery of pulsars and insulin structure that have no direct bearing on the average person, then there is probably a good reason that no one can remember them!

I can think of two famous women scientists, off the top of my head:
Rosalind Franklin - used X-Ray crystallography to discover the helix structure of DNA. Irradiated herself to death so missed out on Nobel prize.

Elizabeth Blackburn - discovered the telomerase enzyme, used in 90% of cancers to extend their telomeres and make themselves immortal.

BTW, I am getting a distinct picture of this writer... Climate change propaganda & feminist issues. Seems to fit a stereotypical demographic description... What happened to TECH?

Next headline...
By marsbound2024 on 8/29/2010 10:48:18 PM , Rating: 2
"US Public is unaware of scientists."

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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