Women in their Element

This book offers an original viewpoint on the history of the Periodic Table: a collective volume with short illustrated papers on women and their contribution to the building and the understanding of the Periodic Table and of the elements themselves. Few existing texts deal with women's contributions to the Periodic Table. A book on women's work will help make historical women chemists more visible, as well as shed light on the multifaceted character of the work on the chemical elements and their periodic relationships. Stories of female input, the editors believe, will contribute to the understanding of the nature of science, of collaboration as opposed to the traditional depiction of the lone genius. While the discovery of elements will be a natural part of this collective work, the editors aim to go beyond discovery histories. Stories of women contributors to the chemistry of the elements will also include understanding the concept of an element, identifying properties, developing analytical methods, mapping the radioactive series, finding applications of elements, and the participation of women as audiences when new elements were presented at lectures. As for the selection of women, the chapters include pre-periodic table contributions as well as recent discoveries, unknown stories as well as more famous ones. The main emphasis will be on work conducted in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Furthermore, the book includes elements from different groups in the periodic table, so as to represent a variety of chemical contexts.