Ruth Hubbard, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita of Biology,
Fields: Biology, Biochemistry, Photochemistry
Specialty: Philosophy of Biology, the biochemistry and photochemistry of vision in vertebrates and invertebrates
Nominated by: Joanne Callahan
Excerpt from nomination: Ruth Hubbard was born in Austria and escaped Nazism as a teenager. She
and her family moved to the Boston area where she started her career as
a biologist. From the 1940's to the 1960's, she made important contributions
to the understanding of the biochemistry and photochemistry of vertebrates
and invertebrates. In 1967, she won the Paul Karrer Medal with her husband,
George Wald for their work in this area. Ruth Hubbard was the first woman
to be awarded a tenured biology professorship at Harvard University.
Ruth Hubbard is best known for her brilliant and courageous challenges to
colleagues who promote sociobiology. The distinguished geneticist Richard
Lewontin says, "No one has been a more influential critic of the biological
theory of women's inequality than Ruth Hubbard." Hubbard has written several
books and articles for both scholarly journals and popular magazines on these
issues. She has encouraged other scientists to question the validity of their
profession's paradigms regarding gender issues. Her excellent grounding in the
technical, philosophical, and sociological aspects of biology have compelled
her colleagues to question their assumptions and even rethink their theories.
Ruth Hubbard not only encourages female peers to move ahead in their careers,
but has inspired laywomen to become scientifically literate.
Reinventing Biology: Respect for Life and the Creation of Knowledge
by Lynda Birke and Ruth Hubbard (editors)
Exploding the Gene Myth: A Conversation with Ruth Hubbard
The Double Helix: A Study of Science in Context from The Politics of Women's Biology by Ruth Hubbard.
Profitable Promises : Essays on Women, Science and Health by Ruth Hubbard