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History And Herstory

April 03, 1988

The Los Angeles Times Book Review for Sunday, March 13, contained a review by Artelia Court of "Mothers of Invention From the Bra to the Bomb," about women inventors throughout history. I believe that more coverage of women's roles in the flow of history is necessary to more fully understand where society is and how it was developed.

The book and the reviewer, however, fall into lapses that do this cause harm. When I read a sentence such as "Even 'the greatest woman scientist of all time, Marie Curie,' " I despair for understanding. As if there is such a thing as the greatest scientist, man or woman! The idea is the antithesis of science.

Writers would also serve the cause of closer understanding if they were accurate in reporting about women. If Marie Curie had invented the Geiger counter as reported it would be named, no doubt, a Curie counter and not after Hans Geiger. And Marie Curie did not "discover radioactivity." She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize, however, with other early workers in that field--Henri Becquerel, surely a far earlier "discoverer" of radioactivity--and another man, her own husband, Pierre!

Accuracy will serve the cause of women's roles far better than polemics.

WILL CONNELL

GLENDORA

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