Daedalus Lecture with Amy Fisher: "Elizabeth Fulhameā€™s Challenge to the Chemical Revolution"

In The Matilda Effect, Margaret Rossiter argued there exists a tendency to undercut, undercount, and undervalue (consciously or not) the contributions of women to science. She sought not to write a history of “great women” but rather to provide a crucial corrective to a distorted literature. Building on her work, this presentation examines the life and science of the late-eighteenth-century chemist, Elizabeth Fulhame. Motivated by her interest in fabric arts, she undertook numerous experiments to determine whether cloths of gold, silver, and other metals could be made by chemical, as opposed to, mechanical processes. Although her husband and friends thought it an “improbable” pursuit, after more than ten years of experimentation, she triumphed in making fine gold muslin and realized that her research could “throw some light” on the theory of combustion. Whereas women’s participation in scientific discourse was often facilitated by their social standing and/or mediated by male family members during this period, Fulhame opted to publish a completely original manuscript under her own name, challenging the prevailing explanations of combustion. Cited widely by her contemporaries, her history is not well known, and yet a careful analysis of her research provides new insights into the so-called chemical revolution and the role of women in science. Please join us for an undoubtedly illuminating evening as Amy Fisher, professor and director of the Science, Technology and Society Program shares her exciting work exploring pathways to scientific discovery.

Four times each year, the Puget Sound Daedalus Society sponsors an evening of scholarship, debate, and dinner, at which colleagues can become familiar with each other’s areas of research and expertise. This year, like everything else, we are going remote! While we may not get to share dinner, we can all share some good company and lively discussion.

Zoom: https://pugetsound-edu.zoom.us/j/96388235769?pwd=c1JVSG1pQ2RPeTdvV3l0YjNpZ1c5Zz09

Meeting ID: 963 8823 5769

Passcode: 952909

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