“Can you imagine what would have happened if Einstein had been born a woman?” With this question, the initiative More Matildas of the Association of Women Researchers and Technologists brings to the table an indispensable debate: the role of women in science.
On February 11, we celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science for another year. It seems incredible that in the 21st century there is a need to keep claiming it (also this March 8), but it says a lot about the fact that science careers are only attended by 28.5% of women.
To continue the AMIT campaign, which wants to promote the scientific vocation among young women by retrieving female references, we want to contribute our little grain of sand by listing the best films on women scientists.
Historical figure: Hypatia of Alexandria (4th-5th century)
Scientific field: mathematics, astronomy and others
Hypatia of Alexandria, interpreted in Agora by Rachel Weisz, was a mathematician and astronomer born in what was the capital of the Roman diocese of Egypt. She is known to be a “martyr of science” and her defense of science against Christianity.
In the film directed by Alejandro Amenábar, you can see the trajectory of this pioneer: from her beginnings teaching the children of the elite of Alexandria to her struggle to preserve the scrolls that contain the wisdom of the ancient world.
Where to see Àgora: Rakuten
Historical figure: Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Scientific field: physics and chemistry
Being the most recognized female figure in the world of science, it is normal that Marie Curie is also the one who has been the most represented in cinema. It was in 1943 by Greer Garson in Madame Curie, and more recently by Rosamund Pike in Radioactive.
In Marie Curie, directed by Marie Noëlle, the Polish actress Karolina Gruszka brings us closer to the struggle of the scientist for her professional recognition, and not so much for her adulteries. It should not be forgotten that he was the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes in different categories.
Where to watch Marie Curie: HBO / Video premium / From the movie
Historical figure: Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)
Scientific field: Aviation
Although perhaps less well known than the two previous scientists, Amelia Earhart was a pioneer in the world of aviation. In fact, he attempted the first plane trip across the equator, but died in an accident.
In the movie Amelia, with Hilary Swank, we know the hectic story of this American until the end of her mysterious disappearance. While it hasn’t received very good reviews, it does help to understand how he tried to market himself for his merits.
Where to watch Amelia: Rakuten / itunes / Play store
Decipher the riddle
Historical figure: Joan Clarke (1917-1996)
Scientific field: Cryptology, mathematics and computer science
Although revolving mainly around the figure of Alan Turing, in Decipher the riddle The key role played by British cryptanalyst Joan Clarke in cracking the codes of the Enigma machine, used by Germany during World War II, is also reflected.
Joan Clarke was, in fact, the only woman to work alongside Turing, but unfortunately she is not well known to the public. Thanks in part to Morten Tyldum’s film, he will go down in history as one of the most important mathematics in history.
Where to watch Deciphering Enigma: Netflix
Historical figures: Katherine Johnson (1918-2020), Dorothy Vaughan (1910-2008), Mary Jackson (1921-2005)
Scientific field: Mathematics, physics and computer science
In 2016, Theodore Melfi directed Hidden figures, the film that explains the important role Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and other African-American mathematicians played during the space race.
In fact, all three worked for the National Aeronautics Advisory Committee, which would later become NASA. Among other projects, they had a lot of weight in the calculation of the flight paths of Project Mercury and the Apollo 11 flight to the Moon.
Where to see hidden characters: Rakuten / itunes / Play store
Gorillas in the mist
Historical figure: Dian Fossey (1932-1985)
Scientific field: Zoology
Sigourney Weaver’s masterful and tender performance as Dian Fossey brings us closer to the work of this American naturalist, especially in her struggle to get to know mountain gorillas up close and help conserve their habitat.
Fossey was one of the world’s first primatologists, an area in which other women such as Jane Goodall and Birutė Galdikas also excel. At the age of 53, it is believed that Fossey was killed by one of the poachers she fought so hard against.
Where to see gorillas in the mist: Filmin
The Brest doctor
Historical figure: Irène Frachon (1963)
Scientific field: Medicine
You may never have heard of Irène Frachon, but the truth is that she played a decisive role in the Mediator affair, a drug manufactured by Servier laboratories for more than thirty years and which is said to have caused the death of hundreds of patients.
In The Brest doctor, we see how Sidse Babett Knudsen puts himself in the shoes of this Belgian doctor in his fight against the pharmaceutical laboratory. At first, the judge disagreed with him, but the sentence was overturned months later.
Where to see The Doctor of Brest: Filmin
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