This new publication by the Esteve Foundation compiles the scientific submissions and the biographies of twelve top-rank female scientists. However, this publication is not merely a collection of the findings that made them become part of the history of medicine –seven of them were Nobel prize winners– but also an account of the obstacles they had to overcome to pursue their career and gain professional acknowledgement.
For instance Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of the nerve growth factor. The fact of being a Jewish female researcher during Mussolini’s dictatorship did not stop her from dedicating her whole life to science.
In contrast, Rosalind Franklin’s decisive contribution to one of the most extraordinary accomplishments of the 20th Century –the discovery of the structure of DNA– went overlooked: the Nobel prize was awarded to Watson, Crick and Wilkins in 1962.
Roser Gonzàlez-Duarte, professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona and coordinator of this publication, presented the book last 15 November 2007 at El Palauet of Barcelona. Accompanied by the contributing authors, she addressed a crowded, mostly female audience.
Together with Levi-Montalcini and Franklin, the other ten outstanding female scientists in the 20th Century biomedicine were:
Elizabeth Helen Blackburn
Gerty Theresa Cori
Gertrude Belle Elion
Elizabeth Fondal Neufeld
Helen Brooke Taussig