There are a number of people who have won or have been awarded the prize of Nobel for their exemplary work in the fields of education, invention and social human living besides conservation of the environment. These prizes have acted to promote and influence many people to ape the deeds and intentions of those who have won the price once or twice in a life time. Sharon Bertsch is one of the laureates who have won this coveted prize of Nobel (McGrayne, 1998). In her book “Nobel prize women in science” he tries to bring out the issues that concern the life and the general level that women can attain in the society in various fields of academics and social life.
Sharon is a former prize winner, a journalist and an editor for a number of articles that are widely read all over the world. Among her good works are the speeches she has made in many scientific conferences, national libraries and institutions as the universities in her country and other countries abroad. There are various disparities that influenced Sharon to mainly focus on the awards that have been awarded to women all over the world. In this book, she explains in detail the processes that these women have gone through in their efforts to participate in developing the world in various ways as innovations and scientific discoveries. She examined the lives of fifteen women who have won the prize in their lives. She says that they have played a great role in their efforts to win the prize and, or have participated in the prize winning projects and programs.
The book further explores into the discriminations and mistreatments that these women went through as students and researchers in various fields and departments of numerous institutions in the world (McGrayne, 1998). On the same note, the book talks of the great love for knowledge that acted as a boost for their continued search for the prize and gain of knowledge in the world.
One of the main things that had great influence upon the lives of these women is the fact that they had passion for discoveries. Many men as five hundred had won the prize since it was lounged sometimes back, and the number of women who had won it was very small. This made these women to be part of the people who wanted to win the prize. They were going through various obstacles in life. For example, many of them were confined to work in basement laboratories and garret offices. In the United States of America, they worked without pay as they used to volunteer most of the time. This really affected their lives. They were exposed to conditions where they were supposed to be rigorous women, tough in nature and rational in their working. This is a unique phenomena in life because, women are supposed to be soft and irrational in their working. They were then referred as unnatural beings because of the fact that they were women scientists. This however never killed their morale of pursuing their dreams to become great scientists. In fact they were forced to crawl while going for their science lectures. Some writers had to write about them as they tried to discourage them from participating in science studies. For instance, one of the writes called Sandra Harding mentioned in her feminist writing that these women had been excluded from doing serious science but by doing them, they were putting their nature into that of a frontline warfare (McGrayne, 1998).
The daily lives of these people were full of trouble as they encountered obstacles one after the other. For instance, the likes of Emmy Noether was not only stopped from getting to the university schooling but was also legally barred from attending any institution that instilled men with scientific skills. They were not supposed to be seen being around these places. This was mainly due to a reason that they would literally get the knowledge that was a preserve for men in the society. In connection to this, for women who had the desire to pursue university education, they had to have their own arrangements of hiring a tutor to train her on all the subjects that were required for one to join a university, for instance Latin and Greek. The work to rule went as far as affecting the parents of most women who had the dreams of attaining university education. This was very exceptional as for the case of Lise Meitner, her father refused to hire a tutor to teach her till she had to finish a teaching profession. On the other hand, the father of another physicist called Rita Levimontalcini barred her from attaining education till she attained the age of twenty. This contributed to the delay of Lise and Rita in starting their university education, unlike to their male counterparts who started studying science a decade before them. Moreover, for those who had attained to the stage articulacy in the field of science, they were discriminated in that they had to go without jobs for many years even after they had graduated from the school of science. More than this, some were not paid their salaries after working so tirelessly in the science laboratories and research centers.
In some other countries like the United States of America, the women were allowed to study science but could not be allowed to participate in the fields of research but instead, they were reduced to teachers in women colleges. They however never lost hope of attaining to the levels that men had attained in the field of science and discoveries. Some were forced to remain single as they would have used their husbands to get access to the laboratory equipment. Nevertheless, universities and other research institutions stopped from hiring women who had got married to university lectures and tutors (McGrayne, 1998).
It took time before many of these women scientists got to be rewarded of the achievements they had made in the fields of science and discovery. For example, it was only until she won the Nobel price Gerty Cori was made a professor. She happened to have studied carbohydrate metabolism and enzymes and the causes of certain diseases due to the effects of lack of carbohydrates. Maria Mayer is another woman scientist who studied the development of shell atom in atomic science and was never hired in most prestigious colleges and universities that she happened to have worked for. She therefore had to work as a volunteer. Some had to quit the field of science simply because they could not get employed in them. For instance Barbara mcCclintock, when she was president-elect of the society of genetics of the United States of America. Moreover, Gertrude Elion, a science secretary had to study for a long time, working in positions that she never disserved as a scientist till she got a job as a research chemist and managed to do a good job in developing new approaches in drug making and maintenance.
There were ridicules and hostility faced by a number of the science women in various levels of attainment. For example, one of the heroes in the study of molecular structure of DNA faced a rough time when some men used her skill and explanation without her permission, and they managed to win the Nobel price after her death. These women also suffered discriminations based on their race and religion (McGrayne, 1998). They were discriminated and hated for the work they had done in the study and discovery of scientific facts and skills. There were other forms of sufferings that these people went through in their lives. One thing that remained clear was the fact that they never lost hope. Moreover, they were comforted by a number of factors.
They had a good and continued adoration of science. They really loved it in their lives. Most of the hobbies that they participated in were mainly concerned with nature and discoveries, for instance, they studied books and made food. They made most of the wonderful breakthroughs in the twentieth century, more than men had done yet they were very few. They came up with new fields of study in subjects as chemistry, biology and physics besides medicine. The discoveries that some had made influenced those who were still studying and they soon had more desire and effort to pursue into the field of science. They saw it nice and entertaining given that they were naturally gentle and sharp to many things (McGrayne, 1998).
The sympathy that some got from their parents was what influenced them. They had to be forced to continue studying, having got emotional support from friends and family members. Moreover, some were influenced by their religious perspectives that treated education and knowledge as a necessity in every human setting no matter the gender. Besides this, some had good husbands who assisted them in one way or the other in making most of the discoveries.
In conclusion, the road for most of the women scientists has not been easy but due to their continued effort and external support, they have had to make to the top in the society having done some exemplary job that deserved them the award of the Nobel Prize.
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