The Posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Ladies in Waiting for the Nobel Prize (Volume 2)
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The fact that only white men were included in the first symposium partly reflects the prevailing past (and continuing) gender imbalance in chemistry, but it also shows the power of the Matilda effect, first articulated by Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898). The Matilda effect is an implicit bias against acknowledging the achievements of women scientists, whose work is often attributed to their male colleagues. An implicit bias is one which is not conscious or deliberate, but nevertheless real. The
gender imbalance in the previous symposium was also noted in the on-line comments for the Chemical and Engineering News article that reported on it. Redressing that imbalance was the purpose of the current symposium entitled "Ladies in Waiting for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Overlooked
Accomplishments of Women Chemists." This symposium, which took place in August 2017, was sponsored by the ACS History of Chemistry Division (HIST), the Women Chemists Committee (WCC), and ACS President Allison Campbell.
In the Preface to The Posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Volume 1: Correcting the Errors and Oversights of the Nobel Prize, Mainz and Strom noted that "any chemist with a decent background in chemical history could readily add other deserving chemists to our list." Undoubtedly, this is also the case for the current symposium: There are other women as well as noteworthy scientists of color who could have been included. These men and women should be the topic of a future symposium. By
highlighting this group of extraordinary women scientists, this book raises awareness of the Matilda effect, but more importantly, it honors them and their accomplishments.
Urbana-Champaign (1983-1985) before becoming Director of the NMR Lab. She was elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the History of Chemistry Division (HIST) of the ACS in 1995, and has served as Secretary-Treasurer since then. Her interest in the HIST Division was kindled when she presented her work on the
chemical genealogy of the University of Illinois (UI) Chemistry Department at a HIST symposium on chemical genealogies in 1994. She has continued her work in this area, posting her information to a website at
http://www.scs.uiuc.edu/~mainzv/Web_Genealogy/, and plans to update this project when her schedule allows. Vera's interest in the history of chemistry led her and her husband, Gregory Girolami, to co-curate two exhibits at the Univ. of Illinois's Rare Book Room: 1) From Alchemy to Chemistry: Five Hundred Years of Rare and Interesting Books, http://www.scs.uiuc.edu/~mainzv/exhibit/; 2) Crystallography-Defining the Shape of Our Modern World, found online at URL
http://www.scs.illinois.edu/xray_exhibit/. Vera was a member of the ACS Fellows Class of 2012, which honored her contributions to the ACS (HIST and local section service) and the many students she helped while working in the NMR Lab.
E. Thomas (Tom) Strom is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where he teaches organic and polymer chemistry. He came to UTA after retiring from Mobil in Dallas, where he worked 32 years as a research chemist studying oil field chemistry. He was Chair of the ACS Division of
the History of Chemistry in 2011-2012. His research interests are in the history of chemistry and the study of anion radicals by electron spin resonance spectroscopy. He was one of the initial ACS Fellows and is a past winner of the Dallas-Fort Worth ACS Section's Doherty Award. He received his B.S. Chem degree from the University of Iowa, his M.S. Chem degree in nuclear chemistry from UC Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Iowa State University working under mentor Glen
A. Russell. Previously he has co-edited four volumes in the ACS Symposium Series: "100+ Years of Plastics. Leo Baekeland and Beyond" (2011), "Pioneers of Quantum Chemistry" (2013), "The Foundations of Physical Organic Chemistry: Fifty Years of the James Flack Norris Award" (2015), and "The Posthumous
Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Volume 1. Correcting the Errors and Oversights of the Nobel Prize Committee" (2017).