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Nobel Winner Had No Wikipedia Page, but Male Colleague Did

Donna Strickland was deemed not noteworthy enough prior to her historic win
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2018 5:00 PM CDT
Noble Prize winner Donna Strickland smiles as she receives a standing ovation.   (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – The Canadian scientist who became the first female Nobel Laureate for Physics since 1963 didn't have a Wikipedia page until after winning the prize Tuesday. Per Quartz, University of Waterloo professor Donna Strickland's groundbreaking work in the field of laser technology, which won her the prize, wasn't deemed significant enough to merit her own page. That all changed with the announcement of her win, 90 minutes after which her new page emerged as one among the just 17% of biographical Wikipedia entries that are about women. Meanwhile, Vox notes that one of Strickland's co-winners, French scientist Gérard Mourou, has had an entry since as far back as 2005.

Further fueling speculation that Strickland's gender had a little or a lot to do with her lack of prior recognition, Fortune notes another point of contention that grabbed the attention of the social media commentariat: her academic title. Though the work she co-authored with Mourou helped revolutionize laser technology, Strickland currently holds the relatively lowly title of associate professor. Unwilling to enter the fray, however, was Strickland herself. She told the BBC she's always been treated as an equal to her male counterparts and that she has just never applied to become a full professor. (One of this year's winners of the prize in chemistry told the AP he's confident more women will receive the honor in his field in years to come.)

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