• Question: As a young, female scientist in today's world, would you say there are a lot more female scientists than say in the 19th century? If so,who do youthink inspired these women?

    Asked by kristybryant to Serena on 18 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Serena Corr

      Serena Corr answered on 18 Jun 2013:

      Hi kristybryant – what a great question!

      I think towards the end of the 19th century, some formal education opportunities began to open up for women in science, though science was very much a male-dominated area, so I can imagine it was much more difficult for women scientists then compared to now. The early 20th century saw Marie Curie become the first female Nobel prize recipient – first in Physics and then in Chemistry, who is now a great inspiration to many scientists all around the world, and it wasn’t until 1945 that there was elected the first female Fellows of the Royal Society, Kathleen Lonsdale for her pioneering work in X-ray crystallography and Marjory Stephenson for her research work in microbiology. This year saw 10 female scientists elected as fellows to the Royal Society. I imagine the inspiration for many female scientists was similar to today – a desire to understand the world around us and search for the answers to interesting questions.