The Abstract Podcast

Women in science: A historically bumpy ride

Female scientists motivate us all to advance in whatever field we choose, thanks in part to the painstaking pioneers who helped blaze the trail.

by Nicole Dalessandro and Inverse Staff
Originally Published: 
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Even though they’re historically outnumbered in math, science, and engineering, and often face stereotypes and sexism in their fields, women have always led breakthrough research and pushed scientific innovation forward.

In the past, being a woman in STEM meant initially getting ignored by the Nobel Prize Nominating Committee — despite discovering radioactivity.

Or NASA thinking you’d be “too emotional” to operate in its station — never mind that you’d beat the odds and become the first American woman in space.

From inspiring to absurd, a look back at the historical misconceptions about women in science reveals how far women have come in shattering obstacles.

In this episode of The Abstract, we discuss the female scientists who motivated us all to advance in whatever field we choose, thanks in part to the painstaking pioneers who helped blaze the trail.

Our first story is about two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie. Conducting groundbreaking work that altered the course of the 20th century, Curie's struggle to achieve recognition in male-dominated fields provides a look at the science’s sexist history — and a deeper sense of the person behind the brains.

Our second story takes a historical look at the female astronauts who dominated the aerospace industry — despite how badly NASA misunderstood them. Suffering through various eye-roll inducing incidents, women in the space industry have crushed years of preconceived notions and taught us much about the cosmos.

Read the original Inverse stories here:

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Right now, facts and science matter more than ever. That's part of the reason for The Abstract, this all-new podcast from the Inverse staff that focuses exclusively on science and innovation. Three new episodes are released a week, and each covers one theme via two related stories. Each features audio of original Inverse reporting, where the facts and context take center stage. It's hosted by the Tanya Bustos of WSJ Podcasts. Because we're Inverse, it's all true but slightly off-kilter. It's made for people who want to know the whole story. Nick Lucchesi, executive editor, Inverse

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