In the nineteenth century, women were expected to stay at home. But Christine Ladd-Franklin’s mother believed they belonged in “every place where a man should be”. She took Ladd-Franklin to lectures on women’s rights, though died when Ladd-Franklin was just 12. Brought up by her grandmother, Ladd-Franklin excelled in school and later at university, where she became interested in physics. At the time, women weren’t allowed in laboratories. So, unable to become a researcher, Ladd-Franklin taught science. Years later, she applied to do a PhD under the name of 'C. Ladd'. Only after she’d been accepted did the admissions board realise she was a woman. Since women weren’t allowed to graduate with PhDs at the time, she was awarded her title 44 years later, in 1926, and at the age of 78. Today, Ladd-Franklin is known for combining biology, logic and mathematics to develop a theory describing the evolution of vision.
Written by Deborah Oakley
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.