Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

University of Chicago Press
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Though most historians remember her as the mistress of Voltaire, Emilie Du Châtelet (1706–49) was an accomplished writer in her own right, who published multiple editions of her scientific writings during her lifetime, as well as a translation of Newton’s Principia Mathematica that is still the standard edition of that work in French. Had she been a man, her reputation as a member of the eighteenth-century French intellectual elite would have been assured.

In the 1970s, feminist historians of science began the slow work of recovering Du Châtelet’s writings and her contributions to history and philosophy. For this edition, Judith P. Zinsser has selected key sections from Du Châtelet’s published and unpublished works, as well as related correspondence, part of her little-known critique of the Old and New Testaments, and a treatise on happiness that is a refreshingly uncensored piece of autobiography—making all of them available for the first time in English. The resulting volume will recover Châtelet’s place in the pantheon of French letters and culture.

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About the author

Judith P. Zinsser is professor of history and an affiliate in the women’s studies program at Miami University. She is the author of Emilie Du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment.

Isabelle Bour is professor of eighteenth-century English studies at the Sorbonne.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 15, 2009
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Pages
456
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ISBN
9780226168081
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / French
Science / History
Social Science / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Fifty-two inspiring and insightful profiles of history’s brightest female scientists.

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In 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the questions the obituary—and consequent outcry—prompted were, Who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their true light?      

Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats.
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