For every Marie Curie or Rosalind Franklin whose story has been told, hundreds of female scientists remain unknown to the public at large. In this series, we illuminate the lives and work of a diverse array of groundbreaking scientists who, because of time, place and gender, have gone largely unrecognized. Each season we focus on a different scientist, putting her narrative into context, explaining not just the science but also the social and historical conditions in which she lived and worked. We also bring these stories to the present, painting a full picture of how her work endures.
In the early 1990s, two physicists, Ruth Howes and Caroline Herzenberg, began looking into a question that had aroused their curiosity: Just who were the female scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project?
Nearly ten years and hundreds of interviews later, they documented hundreds of women across a broad spectrum of scientific fields — physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics — who played crucial roles in the top-secret race to build a nuclear weapon that would end World War II.
Since the film Oppenheimer came out earlier this summer, Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project has enjoyed a revival of sorts as new attention is paid to the women for whom recognition is long overdue.