Trailblazing Edinburgh Women of Science by Catherine Booth

22 Nov 2023

This talk will tell the stories of female scientists from the past, focussing on those with New Town or North Edinburgh connections. Those likely to be featured are:

• the only woman represented in the gallery of scientists on the staircase of 14 India St.

• a fossil expert who in 1907 was sent by the Royal Society on a sabbatical to Japan.

• a glaciologist who became a specialist in Arctic sea ice, and was much lauded in Canada.

• a pioneer in psychotherapy

• a 19th century woman who found unconventional ways of popularising science, not always welcomed by the City Fathers

Speaker – Catherine Booth

Catherine worked as a Librarian for 28 years at the National Library of Scotland, ultimately being in charge of the science collections there. Although her degree was an Arts one, she also studied molecular sciences through the Open University, and has always been very interested in the history of science.

As Trustee and Secretary of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, she gives tours and talks, and finds ways of promoting Maxwell’s life and work and helping to look after his birthplace house at 14 India Street.

Since retirement, she has been continuing earlier research into Scottish female scientists of the past and now has over 80 names on her list, many completely unknown, but all having remarkable stories. Catherine’s aim is to celebrate them and their work to help to give them due recognition.

By Moray Feu with James Clerk Maxwell Foundation


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