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After the War

Women in physics in the United States
Ruth H Howes, Caroline L Herzenberg


This book examines the lives and contributions of American women physicists who were active in the years following World War II, during the middle decades of the 20th century. It covers the strategies they used to survive and thrive in a time where their gender was against them. The percentage of woman taking PhDs in physics has risen from 6% in 1983 to 20% in 2012 (an all-time high for women). By understanding the history of women in physics, these gains can continue. It discusses two major classes of women physicists; those who worked on military projects, and those who worked in industrial laboratories and at universities largely in the late 1940s and 1950s. While it includes minimal discussion of physics and physicists in the 1960s and later, this book focuses on the challenges and successes of women physicists in the years immediately following World War II and before the eras of affirmative actions and the use of the personal computer.

About Editors

Ruth Howes is Professor Emerita of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after retiring as chair of the Physics Department at Marquette University in 2008. She is a nuclear physicist who has a primary interest in improving undergraduate education in physics. She is the co-author of Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project and has an ongoing interest in the history of women physicists.

Caroline Herzenberg is a physicist who has achieved recognition for her activities relating to women in science as well as for her scientific work. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago where she worked under the guidance of Dr Samuel K Allison. She has taught on the faculties of several universities and was a senior scientist on the staff of IIT Research Institute and worked as a physicist on the staff of Argonne National Laboratory.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: The Setting for Women in Physics After World War II / Women Physicists Working in the National Laboratories / Women Physicists in Research Universities / Women Physicists in Industry / Women Physicists in the Women's Colleges / Women in Astrophysics and Early NASA Space Science / Other Women Physicists / Epilogue: Some Final Thoughts


Paperback ISBN: 9780750328029

Ebook ISBN: 9781681741581

DOI: 10.1088/978-1-6817-4094-2

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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