There are a lot of historical and famous scientists that we all have heard of – Einstein, Newton, Marie Curie. Some of them are famous just for their contributions to science and others for their incredible hair. Some made their contributions after inheriting an easy life while others had to struggle and strive while making their measurements. Who should we look up to as an icon of science? Who should be the scientist that everyone wants to be?
To start off, if I asked you to draw a scientist, what would you draw? Take a few seconds to think about it or draw one down yourself.
I bet most of you have drawn the classics. The white coat, the crazy mess of white hair, the glasses. Those are mostly harmless. The problem comes when you see how many people would draw a white man as the classic scientist. Unfortunately, history has not always been fair to the people who have made great contributions to science and given their entire lives to research something, only to be ignored in favour of a richer, more powerful person who ends up getting the credit.
A few examples of scientists being overlooked include the now (thankfully, and about time) well-known story of Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray diffraction Image 51 was the inspiration for the two men who went on to describe the double helix structure of DNA. However, they hadn’t really got permission to see Franklin’s data and certainly didn’t credit her for the contribution that her image made to their understanding until after her tragic, and far too early, death.
This section of the website will be dedicated to the lesser known stories of people whose contribution to science and personal background have a lot to teach us about how to change our understanding of the world while still being a good person and an inspiration.