This talk about the important contributions of women physicists of the past,is being given by Prof. Petra Rudolf who is visiting Liverpool University. She is currently Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics at the Materials Science Centre, Rijksuniversiteit, Groningen in the Netherlands.
In this talk I shall present some important contributions of women physicists of the past, from medieval times until the beginning of the 20th century. I shall discuss the work of independent researchers (Hildegard von Bingen, Trotula, Sybilla Merian, Laura Bassi, Caroline Herschel), of assistants of better known husbands or brothers (Sophie Brahe, Marie Anne Paulze Lavoisier) as well as that of translators such as Emilie de Breteuil Marquise de Châtelet or Maria Angela Ardinghelli. Then I shall discuss why there are still so few female researchers today. In particular, based on studies conducted in Europe, U.S.A. and Japan, I shall comment on whether men and women work differently in science, on how they view themselves and how others view them, as well as on how family and work influence each other for scientists.