Irene Manton


This British evolutionary botanist may be the most famous woman you have never heard of.

Even at the institution where she spent much of her professional career – the University of Leeds – according to the presenter in this video, some people only know “Irene Manton” as a building name.

I came across her name while reading a scientific paper and said to myself, whoa: there weren’t that many women in science in the 1930s and 1940s, let alone someone whose work (on plant biology and evolution) is still referenced frequently today.

Her Wikipedia page is fascinating, and so is this lengthy video, wherein Manton’s interest in both art and science are discussed.

Irene Manton was a scientist who knew and practiced daily the “flight from wonder” that Einstein once described, but this remarkable woman also had an ability to bring wonder and science together–by juxtaposing artwork and electron micrographs, for example.


Featured image by Mettenius, CC BY-SA 3.0.


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