The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century (2 Volume Set)

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9780415920407: The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century (2 Volume Set)
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With several biographical dictionaries of women scientists already in print, is a new one really necessary? In this case, yes. This new title is more wide-ranging than others in the field, with excellent indexing and reference lists that have scholarly appeal. With this publication, Ogilvie expands upon her 1986 book, Women in Science, Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century (MIT Press), which was one of the first biographical collections of its kind. The impressive list of contributors consists primarily of science historians and scientists.The dictionary contains biographies of approximately 2,500 women in science around the globe from antiquity to modern times, including those who were born before 1910 or were born more recently but have since died. Entries are arranged alphabetically with standard biographical data (family information, birth date and birthplace, educational and professional experience, and honors) preceding a biographical article from a few sentences in length to two pages. Most of the articles are meaty, based upon archival materials and scientific papers published by the individual scientist as well as standard biographical sources. Primary and secondary sources consulted are listed at the end of each entry, and a bibliography of standard sources on women in science and medicine is included in the work. The four indexes will be appreciated, as they arrange the entries by country, time period, subject, and occupation.The foreword states that the dictionary broadens one's notions of what constitutes a contribution to science. The editors also state in the introduction that they used inclusion criteria that differed according to the time period in which the women lived, because career pathways available to women varied greatly over time. It is indeed true that the historical record may have ignored the contributions of many women in science, that some have been forced into unwilling scientific obscurity and were actively prevented from flourishing in scientific fields. However, it seems unnecessary to include in this particular historical record women whose personal involvement in science was questionable. Jane Addams (social reformer), Emma Darwin (amanuensis to her husband, Charles), and Katharine Jones (sister and supporter of Robert Boyle) are among the women covered here who, it can be argued, contributed little in their own right to the study of science. Although Ogilvie and Harvey may have erred on the side of overinclusiveness, their work is nonetheless a highly recommended addition to the reference shelf of academic, public, and high-school libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Well known for her Women in Science: Antiquity Through the Nineteenth Century, Ogilvie has joined with Harvey (Almost a Man of Genius) to publish a two-volume bio/bibliographical resource covering approximately 2500 women scientists from all over the world. Recent biographical publications devoted to women scientists, such as Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood, 1997) and American Women in Science, 1950 to the Present (LJ 2/15/99), are limited by either discipline, time period, or nationality. Ogilvie and Harvey include scientists from across all fields and nationalities, although they admit that the dictionary is still slanted toward the United States and Great Britain owing to language barriers and the amount of information available. The editors use broader criteria for earlier time periods but apply more stringent standards for later centuries, when science became more professionalized. The entries were written by a small group of contributors comprising scientists and historians. Arranged alphabetically, each entry has a short summary of personal information, education, and professional experience, a brief biographical narrative, and a bibliography of selected primary and secondary sources. The entries range from very brief to a few pages for the better-known subjects. Indexes include lists of scientists by occupation, time period, and country as well as a subject index. Ogilvie and Harvey have compiled a very comprehensive biographical resource that is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.DTeresa Berry, Univ. of Tennessee Libs., Knoxville
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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