Sept 6, 2018 - Jan 2, 2019
Darwin's The Theory of Evolution
It will be advantageous that an explanation of the basic Theory of Evolution be given in the simplest manner possible so that there is no question concerning its meaning.
Such an explanation, in example form, follows:
The Theory of Evolution could easily have been called the Theory of Mutations. A mutant, or a creature with a mutation, is an offspring who differs slightly from its parents. For example if the parents of a child are 5' 5" tall and 6' tall but the child is 6'3" tall, then the child is a mutation of the parents. If the parents have dark brown eyes and the child has light brown eyes, then the child is a mutation of its parents. We are all mutations in one aspect or another. It is a fact of life that offspring will have many characteristics that differ from their parents. Now, let's consider the life of a giraffe. How did giraffes get such long necks? The answer is manifest in the Theory of Evolution. Much of the day of a giraffe is spent eating leaves off of trees. They don't have much competition, except for other giraffes. Once in a while a SHORT giraffe will be under-nourished as the TALL giraffes can always eat the higher leaves when the lower ones are all eaten. This poor SHORT giraffe will be weak and easy prey for predators and disease. He may die before he even had a chance to find a mate. Most of the TALL giraffes will have no problem and will even have offspring - baby TALL giraffes. Of course, most of the SHORT giraffes 'make do' and also survive. But after thousands of years, the number of SHORT giraffe fatalities is sufficiently greater than the TALL giraffe fatalities that the TALL giraffes start to outnumber the SHORT giraffes by quite a margin. However, after thousands of more years, the TALL giraffes are also having a few problems. There are now a few offspring that are mutations of the TALL giraffes: they are - the "TALLER" giraffes! Many thousands of years pass and the competition of the TALL giraffes AND the TALLER giraffes has been too much for the poor SHORT giraffe family and they are now extinct. The SHORT giraffes have been a victim of the 'survival of the fittest!!' [Also called The Theory of Natural Selection] Now the TALL giraffes are becoming under-nourished and weak and easy prey for predators and disease. The TALLER giraffes soon start to outnumber the TALL giraffes. After thousands of years more, the TALLER giraffes are having their turn at a few problems. There are now a few offspring that are mutations of the TALLER giraffes - they are - the "TALLER-YET" giraffes! Soon the TALL giraffes will be extinct and only the TALLER and the TALLER-YET giraffes will survive. Of course, such a process will stop when all giraffes are tall enough to reach any leaves. This is Darwin's theory. Indeed giraffes don't stretch their necks and pass along stretched necks to their offspring. Instead, slight variations called mutations and survival of the fittest and thousands, if not millions of years determine the future of a species. Our exhibit will include various aspects and conclusions leading to this theory.
This shouldn't be too difficult to answer as very few were able to both be successful and be able to overcome the discrimination against women that existed until recently. Those who did, found little competition. If fact if they dared force their way into an all-male field, and had some success, they may have the advantage of being famous because they were a woman (which was regarded as a novelty). For example, many people associate radioactivity with Marie Curie. Few people know that A.H. Becquerel was the actual discoverer of radioactivity, Federick Soddy was the discoverer of isotopes and of radioactive decay (1903), and Friedrich Ernst Dorn is said to be the discoverer of radon in 1900 all just as important, if not more so, than Curie's work.
Science was one of those all-male fields where one finds few women prior to the early 20th century. Of course, women usually did not have access to universities nor had access to laboratories. It is hard to realize that one may have a choice when one's family, friends, and acquaintances all have been brainwashed into thinking that the woman's place was in the home.
Nobility was one exception. A ruling family of a kingdom, which didn't have a male heir, was quick to find a way to educate their female children and to assure that the female became the next regent. Of course, a male, if one existed, would be selected first. Of the females that did become regent, a disproportionate number became great rulers. Indeed, once a field is open to females, one finds some of the greatest minds in history. In particular, one would be hard pressed to find a greater ruler than the Empress Maria Theresa whose social and political reforms rivaled that of the founding fathers of America. Our exhibit will include many such royal females, not for becoming the regent, but instead because of what they did once they were in that position.
Our exhibit will not include authors, nor women in medicine, nor aviation and space. It will include many regents, a two or three of modern rulers, and a few in the women's rights movement and the abolition movement. We will also mention a couple of super achievers; one, a saint and one, a would be saint; Joan D'Arc and Evita. Finally, we will introduce a name that is not famous (an egregious oversight will be rectified within the next couple of generations); Lise Meitner, the Austrian physicist who discovered nuclear fission. (The Father, ah, I mean Mother of the Atomic Bomb!)
If your favorite female success story is not included in this exhibit, please let us know.