British Women, Chemistry and Poetry Topic of Talk

Authors and scholars Marlene Rayner-Canham and Geoff Rayner-Canham will present  a program on the poetry written by female British chemistry students in the period from the 1870s to the 1940s. The free talk Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in Pfahler Auditorium, is open to the public.

Chemistry Was Their LifeThe presenters note that at the intersection of the Sciences and the Humanities lies the little-documented field of poetry as a means of scientific expression. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, young British women often expressed thoughts on chemistry in poetic style.  This lecture will take a selection of these works and place them in the context that they were written.

The Rayner-Canhams are senior authors and editors of numerous articles and books on the roles of women in the history of science. Their current research focuses on pioneering British women chemists, and they have written an overview on the topic, Chemistry was Their Life: Pioneering British Women Chemists. 1880-1949. They are scholars on the poetry written by female British chemistry students dealing with the joy and pain of pursuing science in a society that was often openly hostile to them.

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