The Great Female Scientists of the Victorian Era

19th century women scientists – mostly women + wives!! Good but error on Mary Anning’s picture which is of William buckland

Letters from Gondwana.

Skull of an ichthyosaur painted with fossil sepia by Elizabeth Philpot.

Women have played  various and extensive roles in the history of geology. Unfortunately, their contribution has not been widely recognised by the public and the history of geosciences has largely been interpreted as a history of male scientists.

In the Victorian times there was the common assumption that the female brain was too fragile to cope with mathematics, or science in general. In a letter from March 1860, Thomas Henry Huxley wrote to Charles Lyell: “Five-sixths of women will stop in the doll stage of evolution, to be the stronghold of parsonism, the drag on civilisation, the degradation of every important pursuit in which they mix themselves – intrigues in politics and friponnes in science.” Lyell, one of the most famous geologist of his time, was married to Mary Horner, daughter of the geologist Leonard Horner, and one of…

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1 thought on “The Great Female Scientists of the Victorian Era

  1. Paul Braterman

    “Early female scientists were often born into influential families”; the same, of course, was no doubt true of male scientists (it was certainly true of Charles Darwin), although I wonder whether church livings provided some men from more humble backgrounds with the necessary resources to engage in science



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