Why have Canadian women scientists been written out of the historical record? Who were they? What did they accomplish? What were their life paths? These are some of the questions answered in this authoritative work. Over decades of research, Marianne Ainley identified, tracked down, and interviewed surviving scientists. Creating Complicated Lives weaves the lives and work of these pioneers with the author's own experiences as an immigrant scientific technician and later a feminist historian. Ainley argues that we must look at the lives of women scientists through a new historical lens that takes into account both the advances of science and concurrent debates about the advancement of women. Rather than having linear career trajectories, many women shifted fields, coped with discrimination, and endeavoured to find niches in which they could make significant contributions. Never before has there been a survey of the lives and work of early Canadian women scientists. This nuanced study brings their stories to light, comparing, contrasting, and interpreting their very complicated lives.
Marianne Gosztonyi Ainley (1937-2008) was principal of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University, as well as dean of Women's Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. Marelene Rayner-Canham is a retired instructor in Physics and Geoff Rayner-Canham is a professor of Chemistry at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University. They are co-editors of A Devotion to their Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity and co-authors of Harriet Brooks: Pioneer Nuclear Scientist.