[Coral-List] Sea Angels

John Ruthven John at hiddenpictures.co.uk
Sat Nov 21 07:09:15 EST 2009

I was very interested to read Alina Szmant's post about women in marine
biology. I am a scientist turned programme maker working on shows for
Discovery, BBC and National Geographic, among others.

I have recently been wondering about whether there is a series (working
title "Sea Angels") about the famous women who work in marine biology. I
have been working on underwater films e.g.BBC's Blue Planet, for about
twenty years and have noticed that many of the prominent scientists in
marine biology are female, or at the very least there is a greater
percentage of women working in the field than say chemistry or engineering.
Perhaps not surprising you may think, but there are other areas of biology
where the prominent researchers are female too e.g. primate research.

Do you think my perception is incorrect? Does it have any significance and
are there indications of why there might be a connection between being
female and having an interest in the sea?  Why do many languages seem to
think of the sea as female for that matter? (e.g. French: La Mere).

This does not of course have a direct relevance to Coral, but it is
important to understand the perspectives which people bring to research and
how that influences our view of the world in everything from nuclear physics
to coral research.

John Ruthven

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