From Women You Should Know: "In our hour of need, women have for centuries been part of the fight against some of the greatest threats to human health. Here are six disease fighters whose research played a pivotal role in leading humanity out of past epidemics." Among them, a CRISPR technology pioneer who just converted her lab facilities for the purpose of emergency viral testing against COVID-19.
She honed in on what would make women useful and intellectually fulfilled, rather than what would make them pliant and pleasant companions. She declared that, yes, a woman should know all the arts of household maintenance, so that she could do anything that life required in terms of her own self-preservation without idly relying upon others. But practical household skills were not to be the extent of her kingdom – that knowledge must be supplemented by regular reading, directed with passion and sympathy from an early age, in history and, most importantly, in science. She recommended several periodicals containing detailed science articles that should be included in the reading regimen of girls, and advocated also for the inculcating of a love of nature through first gardening, and then botany more generally.
Worrying that they wouldn’t take a woman correspondent seriously, Germain pretended to be a Monsieur Leblanc and wrote to both Lagrange and Gauss, asking questions and forwarding mathematical proposals that favorably impressed them both. Her mind stood out even amongst her generation of mathematical geniuses, and when they eventually found out her secret, that she was a self-taught woman, their admiration only increased.
At the core of the Benchley approach was the motto of putting animal care at the head of the zoo’s list of priorities. Animals were to be given as much space as possible, with terrain features that matched the animals’ natural behaviors. Against much professional advice, she spear-headed an initiative to develop a cage-less enclosure, creating large open air grottos surrounded by moats in place of the de rigeur steel cages of the past. She also ensured that each animal had a separate private area which they always had access to, a place they could go when they felt stressed or anxious, even if it meant their public exhibit remained empty. The zoo, at last, was about the animals, not the audience.