Episode 42: Women in Chemistry

Drs. Helen Brown and Irvine Page

Dr. Helen Brown and Dr. Irvine Page of the Cleveland Clinic, 1962. Courtesy of the Cleveland Press Collection.

Breaking through the glass ceiling can be tough, especially when you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field. This week’s episode takes a look at women in chemistry. First, we learn about the brave physicist after whom meitnerium is named. Then we talk with Donna Nelson, a chemistry professor and spokeswoman for women in the sciences. Finally, producer Catherine Girardeau shares an interview with her grandmother, a dietary researcher credited with changing the eating habits of Americans in the mid-20th century. Element of the Week: Meitnerium.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:30 Introduction
01:19 Element of the Week: Meitnerium
03:21 A Conversation with Donna Nelson
07:30 Feature: The Career of Helen B. Brown
11:31 Quote: Abigail Adams
11:43 Closing Credits

Resources and References

Interested in learning more about women in the sciences? Check out Margaret Rossiter’s books on women scientists in America before and after 1940.
For more about meitnerium, visit
Check out Nelson’s diversity studies on women and minorities in the field of chemistry.


Special thanks go to Hilary Domush for researching the show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from the PodSafe Music Network. Additional music is “Chopin is Dead,” by Adhesion, “The Shadow of Time,” by Little Red King, and “Bogalusa Strut,” by Sam Morgans Jazz Band.



Posted In: History | Society

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