Throughout the reading and the lecture, I was extremely interested in learning more about Margaret Cavendish and her accomplishments as a women in science during this time as well as the Royal Society and the influence she had in regards to it. It was apparent in the lecture and just through looking at history during this time and even when looking at present day, that women were not prevalent in science, and it was a field dominated by men. I thought that Margaret Cavendish was interesting because she was a woman who made herself well known and successful despite the field being mostly dominated by men.
Cavendish had an interesting life and was very successful in multiple fields. Cavendish was more than just a women in science, she in fact contributed to many different academic fields and made a long lasting impact. Cavendish was a philosopher, fiction-writer, poet, and playwright. She was born in the United Kingdom in 1623 and died in 1673. She was also the Dutchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne which means that she was affluent within the community, and this may have allowed her to breakthrough in such male dominated fields, however does not lessen any of her accomplishments, or discredit her in any way. Cavendish was also widely criticized for some of her work, and then widely looked up to for other findings and thoughts. The different opinions in her work, and the differences in which audiences have received and reacted to her work are different very split.
Cavendish is well recognized for being the first woman to attend a meeting at the Royal Society in London in 1667. The Royal Society in London, commonly also referred to as the Royal Society, is a society for science where highly successful and influential people get together to ‘promote science and its benefits, recognize excellence in science, support outstanding science, provide scientific advice for policy, foster international and global co-operation, education and public engagement’. When it was first created the Royal Society met only with groups of physicians and natural philosophers who were influenced by “new science”.
Cavendish was one of the early philosophers that was part of this group. I think that it is impressive that she was the first woman to be invited, and shows the influence she had. She debated her ideas and helped popularize certain theories and ideas that were discussed and relevant during this time period. Although, I still have questions about her role in this group and the groups influence as a whole. Was it an elitist group? Were their findings and discussions available to the public? Was she treated equally once she was part of the group, or were the group discussions dominated by her male peers.
The Royal Society still exists today and continues to meet, showing how its impact has been long lasting. Before this past class meeting, I had never heard of the Royal Society but am happy I got to learn about this society and the impact that it is has in current times, as well as the impact that it at its creation, and the influence that certain people like Cavendish had in regards to it.