Women and the Scientific Revolution
While canonical figures such as Galileo loom large in most narratives of early modern science, scientific culture encompassed the participation of people from a variety of social and cultural contexts, including many women. Although these women may be less visible in historical accounts than Galileo, they, too, were crucial to the processes of cultural and epistemological change, contributing in important ways to the production of knowledge on the cusp of the Scientific Revolution. Some were deeply invested in empirical culture through their experiments in medicine and practical alchemy—conducted at home, at court, and through collaborative networks of male and female practitioners. Others displayed their knowledge of natural philosophy in their literary production. Women could be found in the thick of public debate over astronomy and meteorology. Women were crucial actors on the scientific stage, and their activity helped to shape new directions in natural inquiry.