Diversity in Biology

Infusing Diversity in the Curriculum Project

by Michael J. Farabee, Ph.D., Estrella Mountain Community College


So much of the biology studied in introductory classes deals with the accomplishments of a small group of people: white males. There are several reasons for this, including the exclusion of women from academe for many years. This has changed. Please visit the links below and answer a short series of questions pertaining to the significance of achievements by the following people:

Mary Anning

Mary Anning (1799-1847) During her lifetime Mary Anning, an untrained Englishwoman who supported her family by fossil collecting, made a number of significant discoveries, including the first ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Despite her beimng hailed as "the greatest fossilist ever", her life has been made the subject of several books and articles, yet little of her life is really known. This website at the Museum of Paleontology and the University of California at Berkeley offers a short biography and listing of her contributions to the early days of paleontology. (URL: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/anning.html)

MARY ANNING and the birth of geology This site, from the Philpot Museum, describes Mary Anning's work as a fossil collector., along with quoites from her as well as about her. (URL: http://www.lymeregismuseum.co.uk/fossils.htm).

Mary Anning, Finder of Fossils This page, part of a website about women in sciernce, offers a short biography of Mary. (URL: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/anning.html).

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson This weblink from the Ecology Hall of fame recounts, briefly, the life of the author of Silent Spring, the book said to have launched the ecological movement. (URL: http://www.ecotopia.org/ehof/carson/bio.html)

Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria

Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria Dr. Bargonetti-Chavarria is one of the few contemporary minority scientists on this list, and also among the youngest. In 1997 President Clinton awarded her the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, which is the highest governmental honor bestowed on scientists early in their research careers. Her research has dealt with P53, which is a gene that assists in the suppression of tumor cells. In addition to being an accomplished researcher she is recognized for her teaching skills, an uncommon combination in modern academe. (URL: http://hyper1.hunter.cuny.edu/JGH/biographies/bargonetti.html)

Baruj Benacerraf

Baruj Benacerraf Autobiography This autobiographical sketch details the life and career of the Venezulean-born co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1980 "for their discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions". (URL: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1980/benacerraf-autobio.html)

Baruj Benacerraf '42 This short interview with Dr. Benacerraf stresses the role of a college eager to help a young student. (URL: http://www.gs.columbia.edu/successstories_baruj.htm)

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver 1864-1943 This biography of one of the outstanding accomplishments of a man who would revolutionize agriculture and its economics in the southern United States, despite being born a slave and being expelled from school in Kansas due to his African heritage. (URL: http://hyper1.hunter.cuny.edu/JGH/biographies/gwc.htm)

George Washington Carver This page, from a website about the triumph of African Americans, provides a slightly different perspective on Crver. (URL: http://www.phillyburbs.com/BHM/carver.shtml)

Charles R. Drew  

Charles R. Drew Dr. Drew invented the technique to preserve blood after it was drawn from th body, in essence making battlefield transfusions possible, as well as blood banks. An All-American football player in his youth, Drew died after an automibile accident in 1950. The white-only hospital closest to the scene of the accident refused to treat him. (URL: http://www.phillyburbs.com/BHM/drew.shtml)

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle, Ph.D. Sylvia earle, a recent MCCCD Honors Speaker, delivers powerful lectures about her passion for the sea. Highlights of her career include the leading of an all women oceanographic expedition (Tektite II, Mission 6 in 1970) and is presently explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. (URL: http://www.achievement.org/frames.html)

Dr. Carlos J. Finlay

Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Biographical Notes This page, part of the Finlay online site, captures the life ofthe Cuban-born crusader against Yellow Fever. (URL: http://www.finlay-online.com/welcome/whowasdrfinlay.htm) For more information on Yellow Fever, Visit Yellow Fever and the Reed Commission at http://www.med.virginia.edu/hs-library/historical/yelfev/tabcon.html.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Elise Franklin, Pioneer Molecular Biologist This page, part of a website about women in sciernce, offers a short biography of Rosalind Franklin and her seminal contribution to the study of DNA structure, as well as other significant discoveries made in her brief life. (URL: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/franklin.html)

Rosa Smith Eigenmann

Rosa Smith Eigenmann "First Woman Ichthyologist of Any Accomplishments" This page, part of a website about women in sciernce, offers a short biography of Rosa Smith Eigenmann, who before and after her marriage, managed to publish a series of papers on fish. She is notable for the quote: "in science as everywhere else in the domain of thought woman should be judged by the same standard as her brother. Her work must not simply be well done for a woman." (URL: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/eigenmann.html)

Fabian Garcia

Fabian Garcia, Ph.D. Outstanding Biotechnologist Dr. Garcia was a Mexican American agronomist who developed an insect-resistant variety of chile (chile number 9). (URL: http://hyper1.hunter.cuny.edu/JGH/biographies/garciabio.html)

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, A Founder of Protein Crystallography This page, part of a website about women in sciernce, offers a short biography of Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. She was a founder of protein crystallography, and with her mentor, J.D. Bernal, the first to successfully apply X-ray diffraction to crystals of biological substances, beginning with pepsin in 1934. Her contributions to crystallography included the structures of cholesterol, lactoglobulin, ferritin, tobacco mosaic virus, penicillin, vitamin B-12, and insulin (a solution on which she worked for 34 years) (URL: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/hodgkin.html)

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1964 This page from the Nobel e-Museum, details her work, as well as a detailed biography.

Ernest Everett Just

Ernest Everett Just, Ph.D., Outstanding Developmental Biologist This brief biography chronicles some of the accomplishments and alludes to the roadblocks placed in the path of a remarkable scientist. (URL: http://hyper1.hunter.cuny.edu/JGH/biographies/justbio1.html)

Ernest Everett Just: Zoologist, Biologist, Physiologist, Research Scientist This site provides a more detailed biographical sketch, including honors, and other material detailing the career of Dr. Just. (URL: http://www.princeton.edu/~mcbrown/display/just.html)

Barbara McClintock

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1983 Barbara McClintock's life work was understanding the genetics of corn. Early in her career, she was the first to describe crossing over during meiosis in plants. At the peak of her career, she realized that genes were not immobile on the chromosomes, but could move and rearrange themselves with startling consequences. Until rediscovered in fruit flies (almost 20 years later) and many other organisms. This site, run by the Nobel e-Museum contains the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1983 Press Release, Barbara McClintock's Autobiography, her Nobel Lecture, images of her Swedish Nobel Stamp, and an in memoriam essay by Howard Green. (URL: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1983/ )

The Barbara McClintock Papers This site is the firsat to offer laboratory notes, correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, photographs, charts, illustrations, and audiovisual materials for a woman, Barbara McClintock. (URL: http://www.profiles.nlm.nih.gov/LL/)

Ruth Ella Moore

Ruth Ella Moore Dr. Moore was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in bacteriology (from The Ohio State University, in 1933). She had a long career in various teaching, research, and administrative posts at Howard University. (URL: http://www.princeton.edu/%7Emcbrown/display/ruth_moore.html)

Severo Ochoa

Severo Ochoa &endash; Biography This page details the biography of the Spanish-born cowinner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for1959 "for their discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid". (URL: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1959/ochoa-bio.html)

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young Lifelong Struggle of a Zoologist Lifelong Struggle of a Zoologist Roger Arliner Young was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in zoology, as recounted at this short biography and highlighting her accomplishments and difficulties. (URL: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/young.html)

Internet Resources

Below are a few of the websites that provide links and other useful information about minority scientists.

The Just/Garcia/Hill Science Website This site is a clearinghouse for streaming video (warning, you might want a fast connection) as well as short biographies on all three principals for ewhom the site is named, as well as bios of other minority scientists. (URL: http://hyper1.hunter.cuny.edu:7080/ramgen/GEdM.rm)

4000 Years of Women in Science This extensive, exhaustive site chronicles the contributions of women to science. The biography section offers (for the most part) short capsules of the accomplishment of many women I have never heard of! (URL: http://www.astr.ua.edu/4000ws/4000WS.html)

The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences This site at Princeton University offers an extensive set of biographies of past, present, and possibly future African American leaders in science. (URL: http://www.princeton.edu/%7Emcbrown/display/faces.html)

Selected References

Dodson, Guy, Jenny P. Glusker, and David Sayre (eds.). 1981. Structural Studies on Molecules of Biological Interest: A Volume in Honour of Professor Dorothy Hodgkin. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.

Kass-Simon, G., Patricia Farnes, and Deborah Nash (eds.). 1990. Women of Science: Righting the Record. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Manning, Kenneth R. 1989."Roger Arliner Young, Scientist," Sage 6: 3-7.

Manning, Kenneth R. 1983. Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just. New York: Oxford University Press

McGrayne, Sharon Bertsch. 1993. Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group.

McMurray, Emily J. (ed.). 1995. Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists. 4 vols., Detroit: Gale Research, Inc.

Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey. 1986. Women in Science: Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century (A Biographical Dictionary with Annotated Bibliography). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Rossiter, Margaret W. 1982. Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Rossiter, Margaret W. 1995. Women Scientists in America: Before Affirmative Action, 1940-1972. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sayre, Anne. 1975. Rosalind Franklin and DNA. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

Torrens, Hugh. 1995. "Mary Anning (1799-1847) of Lyme: 'the greatest fossilist the world ever knew'," British Journal for the History of Science 25:257-284.


This page ©M.J. Farabee 1999, 2000, 2001. Use for educational puirposes is encouraged. If you wish to add a website, or know of a person who you would like to see added to this list, please email me.

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