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Ursula Franklin

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! I had... um, forgotten, actually, that it was today; and not nearly enough people on my reading-lists reminded me. So, here's an attempt to fix that:

This post is about Ursula Franklin. She was born in 1921 in Germany. She emigrated to Toronto during World War Two after being imprisoned by Nazis for having a Jewish mother. She is a Quaker, a scientist, and a feminist.

In the 1960s, she investigated levels of strontium 90- a radioactive isotope in fallout from nuclear weapons testing- in children's teeth. Her research was instrumental in ending atmospheric weapons testing worldwide.

She worked on bridging the gap between the East and the West during the Cold War; through delegations to meet women of the Soviet Union and North Vietnam.

Since retirement, she and several other retired female faculty members filed a class action lawsuit against the University of Toronto claiming it had been unjustly enriched by paying women faculty less than comparably qualified men. In 2002, the lawsuit was settled when the university acknowledged that many of its female professors had suffered from gender barriers and pay discrimination during their careers. As a result, about 60 retired women faculty received a pay equity settlement intended to compensate them for the lower salaries and pensions they had received. [Thank you wikipedia.]

Her most recent book is titled Pacifism as a Map; I recommend it for anyone interested in the intersections of science, feminism, and pacifism. (If you're local, you're welcome to borrow my copy.)

A wonderful interview with her on CBC Radio is worth the 50 minutes.

"Dr. Ursula Franklin is one of Canada's treasures. Her list of accomplishments is daunting — Ph.D. in experimental physics, mentor to a generation of engineers and women in science, Companion of the Order of Canada, author, peace activist, Quaker. Mary Hynes talks to Ursula Franklin about pacifism, science and why she doesn't own a television."


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
I have put her book on the list and will listen to the interview soon.
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
She's a hard-hitter, and I'm glad to learn about her myself those (few, really) years ago. I'm curious what you think of the book.

I've not finished reading about Chinese Restaurants, quite yet. Still reading about the Kosher Duck scandal. :)
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
Thanks for informing me
I must admit it, although I have heard the name many times I didn't know who Dr Franklin is. I just followed one of the links on the Ada Lovelace Day site (having posted my tribute to Lise Meitner) and found yours. Thanks very much for posting this. - Bill
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for informing me
You're quite welcome! Stop by any time. -Daniel
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )