Nina Rattner GelbartAug 4, 2022
Minerva's French Sisters
Women of Science in Enlightenment France
Yale University Press 2021
In Minerva’s French Sisters: Women of Science in Enlightenment France (Yale University Press, 2021), Nina Gelbart, Professor of History and Anita Johnson Wand Professor of Women’s Studies at Occidental College, shares the stories of six, incredibly resourceful, and dedicated women who contributed substantially to the sciences of their time. While offering valuable comments on the challenges of writing gender-inclusive histories of science, the book restores the legacies of the mathematician Elisabeth Ferrand, the astronomer Nicole Reine Lepaute, the botanists Jeanne Barret and Madeleine Françoise Basseporte, the anatomist Marie-Marguerite Bihéron, and the chemist Marie Geneviève Charlotte Thiroux d’Arconville. Minerva’s French Sisters also reads as the personal journey of an historian looking for lost evidence and piecing together traces to offer a unique vision of the Enlightenment sciences through the lens of these women.
Victor Monnin, Ph.D. is an historian of science specialized in the history of Earth sciences. He is also teaching French language and literature to undergraduates.