Gaia, the Scientist

There exists a social hierarchy within science that strikes people who are not mixed up in it as ridiculous. It goes like this: Mathematicians are superior to Physicists, who are, in turn, superior to Chemists, who are of course, superior to Biologists. There’s also a pecking order within each of these disciplines. Take biology, for example: Geneticists are superior to Biochemists, who are superior to Ecologists. The system breaks down when we come to sociology, psychology, and anthropology and devolves into a debate as to whether the social sciences are really Sciences after all.

Scientists arguing about whether a science qualifies as Science is more common than you might think. Zoom in, and you’ll see scientists arguing about who does (and doesn’t) qualify as a Scientist. Within the last five decades or so, it is generally accepted that more and more women have become Scientists, which implies that if we look back in time, there were fewer and fewer. This ultimately begs the question: Who was the first Woman Scientist?

By then I was myself a mother and still questioning whether I was a Scientist, or if I ever really could be.

Was it Marie Curie? She discovered the element as more of an Artist: “The scientific history of radium is beautiful. And this is proof that scientific work must be done for itself, for the beauty of science,” she wrote in 1921.

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