Joanna Behrman

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University

2017 to 2018
Research Fellow

A Comparative Analysis of Women’s Higher Education in Physics

Higher education in science is a key gateway to scientific professions. While it can be used to inculcate professional norms, at the same time it screens out undesired individuals or entire demographic groups. In my research I argue that higher education, while it has certainly posed barriers to occupational opportunities for women in physics, was also a means by which women made for themselves fruitful careers. My project explores intersections in the history of physics and the history of women’s higher education including: the push for science education in the early American Republic, the expansion of the teaching profession, the opening of non-teaching scientific professions, the rise of home economics, and the development of graduate schools. I suggest that each of these historical moments changed the way women were taught and worked in physics and that, taken together, they demonstrate a broader history of women in physics.

Read more about Joanna's work here.