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This half-day seminar will look at women's engagement with science in the past through the Bodleian's historical archives, trace the changing nature of their role, discuss the experiences of female scientists in the 21st century, and explore the challenges of preserving their archives in the future.

The first part of the seminar will be dedicated to three prominent female scientists, represented in the Bodleian's archives. Archivists, historians and biographers will give their perspectives on the life and work of:

  • astronomer and mathematician Mary Somerville (1780-1872)
  • physiologist and pathologist Mabel Purefoy FitzGerald (1872-1973)
  • biochemist and crystallographer Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994)

The second part of the seminar will bring 21st century women in science into the archives. Professor Frances Ashcroft will talk about her career as a physiologist, and the challenges and opportunities she has seen for women in science since the 1970s.

A panel of early career scientists from the University of Oxford will share their experiences as women in science today, and discuss with archivists and curators how their work can become part of the archives of the future.

View the seminar programme, including list of speakers.

The seminar is free but places are limited so please complete the booking form to reserve tickets in advance.

After the seminar, there will be an opportunity to see selected items from the Bodleian's Special Collections, and meet the archivists working on them. Please note that this curator-led display has a limited capacity, and places need to be booked separately.

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