Dr Florence Bascom: Sounding the abyss of science

Originally published in the ebook A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention.

by Jessica Ball

Florence Bascom would have been a remarkable woman in any age, but in her own time she was an outstanding proponent of science and women’s place in it. The field of geology was in its infancy in the 19th century, and Dr Bascom was a pioneer, not only in that she was a woman demanding a position among men, but also in her mastery of the foundational skills of petrography and crystallography, and her uncompromising standards for the geologists she trained and who succeeded her. As a woman pursuing geology for my own career, I find much in Florence Bascom to admire, and look on her as a kindred spirit in my own love of studying the Earth.

Bascom was born in 1862 and had a great advantage in her family: her parents had both studied at seminaries. Her mother, a schoolteacher, was active in women’s clubs and the newly growing feminist movement, and her father led an academic ...



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Posted in STEM Stories.