Creative Couples in the Sciences

Edited by Helena M. Pycior, Nancy G. Slack, and Pnina G. Abir-Am. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, c1996; Reviewed in SciencePDF document, (JSTOR); American Historical ReviewPDF document, (JSTOR).

Paper ISBN 0-8135-2188-2
Cloth ISBN 0-8135-2187-4
350 pp., 47 b&w illus.

Can two scientists work and live together? Marie and Pierre Curie proved that it was indeed possible to have a happy marriage and do brilliant research together. This collection of seventeen original essays explores the interplay between marriage and scientific work in the lives of two dozen couples in the nineteenth and twentieth century. It is the first book to discuss the professional and personal lives of scientific couples.

For much of this period, marriage was the only acceptable way a woman could gain access to the tools, space, and colleagues indispensable to doing science. Yet, collaboration with her husband could also mean the denial of full credit for her work, inability to move to better jobs, and the juggling of domestic and scientific responsibilities. For the husband, collaboration with his skilled, unpaid wife could bring greater achievements than he might have achieved alone, but also meant the suspicion of his professional peers and the necessity of supporting the household.

The creative couples described in this volume range from Nobel Prize winners and world-renowned social scientists to obscure field biologists. The essays describe marriages and scientific collaborations that were a joy to both partners, as well as those that proved disastrous. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Marianne Gosztonyi Ainley, Barbara J. Becker, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Mildred Cohn, Janet Bell Garber, Christiane Groeben, Joy Harvey, Susan Hoecker-Drysdale, Pamela M. Henson, Maureen J. Julian, Sylvia W. McGrath, Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie, John Stachel, Linda Tucker, and Sylvia Wiegand. They provide unique insights into the nature of cross-gender collaboration and intimacy.

This volume will be of enormous interest to contemporary scientists, to historians of science, and to anyone interested in the ways women and men share marriage and work.

Helena M. Pycior is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Nancy G. Slack is professor of biology at Russell Sage College. Pnina G. Abir-Am, series editor, won the first History of Science Society's prize (1988) for the best essay on history of women in science.


Series Foreword / Pnina G. Abir-Am

Introduction / Helena M. Pycior, Nancy G. Slack, and Pnina G. Abir-Am

Part I: Peaks of Collaborative Success
The Nobelist Couples

  1. Pierre Curie and “His Eminent Collaborator Mme Curie”: Complementary Partners / Helena M. Pycior
  2. Star Scientists in a Nobelist Family: Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie / Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
  3. Carl and Gerty Cori: A Personal Recollection / Mildred Cohn
  4. Part II: Couples Beginning in Student-Instructor Relationships

  5. John and Elizabeth Gould: Ornithologists and Scientific Illustrators, 1829-1841 / Janet Bell Garber
  6. Dispelling the Myth of the Able Assistant: Margaret and William Huggins at Work in the Tulse Hill Observatory / Barbara J. Becker
  7. The Comstocks of Cornell: A Marriage of Interests / Pamela M. Henson
  8. Grace Chisolm Young and William Henry Young: A Partnership of Itinerant British Mathematicians / Sylvia Wiegand
  9. Part III: A Spectrum of Mutually Supportive Couples

  10. Marriage and Scientific Work in Twentieth Century Canada: The Berkeleys in Marine Biology and the Hoggs in Astronomy / Marianne Gosztonyi Ainley
  11. Unusually Close Companions: Freida Cobb Blanchard and Frank Nelson Blanchard / Sylvia W. McGrath
  12. Kathleen and Thomas Lonsdale: Forty-Three Years of Spiritual and Scientific Life Together / Maureen M. Julian
  13. Part IV: Couples Devolving from Creative Potential to Dissonance

  14. Clanging Eagles: The Marriage and Collaboration between Two Nineteenth Century Physicians, Mary Putnam Jacobi and Abraham Jacobi / Joy Harvey
  15. “My Life Is a Thing of the Past”: The Whitmans in Zoology and in Marriage / Linda Tucker, Christine Groeben
  16. Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric: A Collaboration That Failed to Develop / John Stachel
  17. Sociologists in the Vineyard: The Careers of Helen MacGill Hughes and Everett Cherrington Hughes / Susan Hoecker-Drysdale
  18. Part V: Comparative Study of Couples along Disciplinary and Transdisciplinary Lines

  19. Botanical and Ecological Couples: A Continuum of Relationships / Nancy G. Slack
  20. Patterns of Collaboration in Turn-of-the-Century Astronomy: The Campbells and the Maunders / Marylin Bailey Ogilvie
  21. Collaborative Couples Who Wanted to Change the World: The Social Policies and Personal Tensions of the Russells, the Myrdals, and the Mead-Batesons / Pnina G. Abir-Am


Additional Collaborative Couples and Other Cross-Gender Collaborators / Pnina G. Abir-Am, Helena M. Pycior, and Nancy G. Slack

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