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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
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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