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A Lab of One's Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War

Patricia Fara

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Oxford University Press
26 September 2019
Social & cultural history; First World War; Gender studies: women; Civil rights & citizenship; Mathematics & Sciences; History of science
2018 marked a double centenary: peace was declared in war-wracked Europe, and women won the vote after decades of struggle. A Lab of One's Own commemorates both anniversaries by revealing the untold lives of female scientists, doctors, and engineers who undertook endeavours normally reserved for men. It tells fascinating and extraordinary stories featuring initiative, determination, and isolation, set against a backdrop of war, prejudice, and disease.

Patricia Fara investigates the enterprising careers of these pioneering women and their impact on science, medicine, and the First World War. Suffrage campaigners aligned themselves with scientific and technological progress. Defying protests about their intellectual inferiority and child-bearing responsibilities, during the War they won support by mobilizing women to enter conventionally male domains. A Lab of One's Own focuses on the female experts who carried out vital research. They had already shown exceptional resilience by challenging accepted norms to pursue their careers, now they played their part in winning the War at home and overseas.

In 1919, the suffragist Millicent Fawcett declared triumphantly that 'The war revolutionised the industrial position of women. It found them serfs, and left them free.' She was wrong: Women had helped the country to victory, had won the vote for those over thirty - but had lost the battle for equality. A Lab of One''s Own is essential reading to understand and eliminate the inequalities still affecting professional women today.
By:   Patricia Fara
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 215mm,  Width: 134mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   356g
ISBN:   9780198794998
ISBN 10:   0198794991
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   26 September 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Preserving the Past, Facing the Future 1: Snapshots: Suffrage and Science at Cambridge 2: A Divided Nation: Class, Gender, and Science in Early Twentieth-Century Britain 3: Subjects of Science: Biological Justifications of Women's Status Abandoning Domesticity, Working for the Vote 4: A New Century: Voting for Science 5: Factories of Science: Women Work for War 6: Ray Costelloe / Strachey: The Life of a Mathematical Suffragist Corridors of Science, Crucibles of Power 7: Scientists in Petticoats: Women and Science Before the War 8: A Scientific State: Technological Warfare in the Early Twentieth Century 9: Taking Over: Women, Science and Power During the War 10: Chemical Campaigners: Ida Smedley and Martha Whiteley Scientific Warfare, Wartime Welfare 11: Soldiers of Science: Scientific Women Fighting on the Home Front 12: Scientists in Khaki: Mona Geddes and Helen Gwynne-Vaughan 13: Medical Recruits: Scientists Care for the Nation 14: From Scotland to Sebastopol: The Wartime Work of Dr Isabel Emslie Hutton Citizens of Science in a Post-War World 15: Inter-War Normalities: Scientific Women and Struggles for Equality 16: Lessons of Science: Learning from the Past to Improve the Future Bibliography

Patricia Fara lectures in the history of science at Cambridge University, where she is a Fellow of Clare College. She is the President of the British Society for the History of Science (2016-18) and her prize-winning book, Science: A Four Thousand Year History (OUP, 2009), has been translated into nine languages. In addition to many academic publications, her popular works include Newton: The Making of Genius (Columbia University Press, 2002), An Entertainment for Angels (Icon Books, 2002), Sex, Botany and Empire (Columbia University Press, 2003), and Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (Pimlico, 2004). An experienced public lecturer, Patricia Fara appears regularly in TV documentaries and radio programmes such as In our Time. She also contributes articles and reviews to many journals, including History Today, BBC History, New Scientist, Nature and the Times Literary Supplement.

Reviews for A Lab of One's Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War

A book full of fascinating insight and anecdote about women working in or with science around the time of the 1st World War. So many hidden stories and amazing heroines. * Dame Athene Donald * The stories in this book made me very happy that I came of age in the middle of the 20th century, when the world of science welcomed a woman's questions and valued her experiments. * Maxine F. Singer * Fascinating... [Patricia Fara] has uncovered the hidden, suppressed histories of scientists and clinicians who made great contributions to war and welfare, and she has woven a broader narrative of gain and loss that still resonates today. * Jeremy Sanders, Former Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge * Vividly and movingly, A Lab Of One's Own, brings to life the forgotten story of the scientific, mathematical, medical and technological contributions made by British women during the First World War, with legacies and lessons that still matter today. Patricia Fara deserves a medal. * Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds * An urgent and absorbing tale. Fara's impassioned yet rigorous work never falters or compromises in its search for a history that is both true and continues to matter a very great deal. * Charlotte Sleigh, Professor of Science Humanities, University of Kent * Fascinating and compelling ... This thought-provoking book should be of interest to the scientist and non-scientist alike. * Sophie Joyce, ACNR * This thought-provoking book [...] is history writing at its most compelling. * Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience * A Lab of One's Own is a fascinating introduction to the pioneering women and critical events that gave momentum to the pursuit of equality before, during and after the First World War, from a scientific perspective ... Patricia Fara delivers the story of [the women's fight for equality] in a very accessible way, and a reader need not be a budding scientist to understand and enjoy the writing, which is interspersed with mini biographies of countless women whose heroics continue to inspire ... There is humour to be found often with Fara's writing, and she is not afraid to highlight the contradictions in the scientists' views and actions, unwilling to present them as goddess-like, as historians are perhaps at times guilty of. Refreshingly I think it is therefore a great read for modern day women. * Zero Filter Books * A Lab of One's Own is packed with stories of women who deserve greater recognition. More than that though, it resonates with current trends in how women are treated in the workplace even a century after the partial suffrage of 1918. * Dominic Lenton, E&T Magazine * A Lab of One's Own is a great title for an important book.... Patricia Fara paints all the nuances of the trajectories of women scientists, keeping in the background the specificities of a war economy, the instrumental place of science within it and the ambiguities and new challenges faced by women. * Cleo Chassonnery-Zaigouche, LSE Review of Books * A densely written, well-documented history of the British experience that will resonate with American women as well. * Kirkus Review * Fara's vibrant prose captures the tumultuous and emotive climate of the war years and is teamed with keen academic observations. Her welcome study is a superb account of trailblazing women, whose efforts to secure equality in the workplace will no doubt resonate with many present day women. * All About History * This is an essential read for any scientist seeking to understand their potential. * Jonelle Harvey, Chemistry World * [A] powerful book. * Caspar Henderson, Five Books, Science Books of the Year 2018 * Fara has composed a worthy and lasting tribute to these pioneering women. * Foreign Affairs * Fara's nuanced narrative [is] more than the sum of its parts. * Elizabeth Bruton, Nature * [An] enthralling book. * Uta Frith, Literary Review * [A] fascinating book ... Carefully researched and absorbing ... Informative and moving, A Lab of One's Own is a timely reminder in helping us eliminate the inequalities that professional women still face today. * June Purvis, The Times Higher Education Supplement * As this remarkable book demonstrates, Fara is not only one of Britain's leading historians of science, but also one of her generation's most eloquent storytellers. An engrossing, exciting tale of uncelebrated scientists who innovated and experimented against a background of grand historical events. * Dava Sobel, The New York Times * [An] important book ... a compelling tale ... [Fara's] book charts a significant chapter in lost feminist history. * Wendy Moore, The Guardian * [An] interesting study. * Lucy Lethbridge, The Financial Times *


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