Patricia Fara

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Patricia Fara
Fara in May 2018
Known forWomen in science
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Academic work
DisciplineHistory of science
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge

Patricia Fara was a college lecturer in the history of science at Clare College,Cambridge. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford and did her PhD at the University of London.[1] She is a former Fellow of Darwin College and is an Emerita Fellow of Clare College where she was previously Director of Studies in the History and Philosophy and Science.[2] Fara was also a College Teaching Officer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.[3] From 2016 to 2018 Fara was President of the British Society for the History of Science. In 2016 she became President of the Antiquarian Horological Society.[4][5] Fara is author of numerous popular books on the history of science and has been a guest on BBC Radio 4's science and history discussion series, In Our Time.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Fara began her academic career as a physicist but returned to graduate studies as a mature student to specialise in History and Philosophy of Science, completing her PhD thesis at Imperial College, London in 1993.[7][8]

Research and writing[edit]

Her areas of particular academic interest include the role of portraiture and art in the history of science, science in the 18th century England during the Enlightenment and the role of women in science. She has written about numerous women in science, mathematics, engineering, and medicine including: Hertha Ayrton, Lady Helen Gleichen, Mona Chalmers Watson, Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, Isabel Emslie Hutton, Flora Murray, Ida Maclean, Marie Stopes, and Martha Annie Whiteley.[7][9][10][11][12] She has argued for expanded access to childcare as a means of increasing the retention of women in science.[4] She has written and co-authored a number of books for children on science. Fara is also a reviewer of books on history of science.[13] She has written the award-winning Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009) [14][15] and Erasmus Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity (2012).[16] Her most recent book is A Lab of One's Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War" (2017).[17][18][19] In 2013, Fara published an article in the journal Nature, stressing the fact that biographies of female scientists perpetuate stereotypes.[20]



  • Fara, Patricia (1996). Sympathetic attractions : magnetic practices, beliefs, and symbolism in Eighteenth-Century England. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400864362.
  • Fara, Patricia (December 1998). "Presidential portraits : Joseph Banks in the National Library". National Library of Australia News. IX (3): 7–10. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  • Fara, Patricia (2002) An Entertainment for Angels: Electricity in the Enlightenment Icon Books
  • Fara, Patricia (2002) Newton: The Making of Genius Pan-MacMillan
  • Fara, Patricia (2002) Scientists Anonymous: Great Stories of Women in Science. Totem Books.
  • Fara, Patricia (2003). Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks. Cambridge: Icon Books. ISBN 9781840464443. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  • Fara, Patricia (2004) Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment Pimlico Books
  • Fara, Patricia (2005) Fatal Attraction: Magnetic Mysteries of the Enlightenment Icon Books
  • Fara, Patricia (2009) Science: A Four Thousand Year History Oxford University Press
  • Fara, Patricia (2012). Erasmus Darwin : sex, science, and serendipity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199582662. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  • Fara, Patricia (2017). A Lab of One's Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-879498-1.
  • Fara, Patricia (2021) Life After Gravity: Isacc Newton's London Career Oxford University Press



  1. ^ Sobel, Dava (19 March 2018). "Science's Invisible Women". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  2. ^ Clare College Fellows, referenced 28 November 2016
  3. ^ Department of the History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge, referenced 28 November 2016
  4. ^ a b editor, Ian Sample Science (7 June 2017). "Keep women in academia by providing childcare, historian urges universities". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 January 2019. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ "The new President" (PDF). Antiquarian Horology. 37:2: 178. 2016.
  6. ^ Moulds, Alison (15 February 2018). "Patricia Fara on In Our Time". The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS). Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b Aut, Baldwin Melinda author (10 August 2018). "Q&A: Patricia Fara on the British women scientists who broke barriers". Physics Today. doi:10.1063/PT.6.4.20180810a. S2CID 240330712. {{cite journal}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  8. ^ Fara, Patricia (1993). "Magnetic England in the 18th Century". PhD Thesis, London.
  9. ^ December 2018, Rachel Brazil10. "Science, suffrage and misogyny". Chemistry World. Retrieved 17 January 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Book Excerpt from A Lab of One's Own". The Scientist Magazine®. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  11. ^ Fara, Patricia (8 November 2019). "Helena Gleichen: pioneer radiographer, suffragist and forgotten hero of WWI". The Conversation. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Helen Gwynne-Vaughan: An extraordinary botanist whose problems of identity still confront female scientists today". BBC Science Focus Magazine. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Patricia Fara - Watchers of the Skies". Literary Review. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  14. ^ a b Fara, Patricia (2009) Science: A Four Thousand Year History Oxford: Oxford University Press
  15. ^ Ferry, Georgina (2009) 'Under the Microscope' The Guardian 25 April 2009 Retrieved 16 August 2010
  16. ^ Fara, Patricia (2012) Erasmus Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity Oxford: Oxford University Press
  17. ^ Moore, Wendy (2018) 'A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War by Patricia Fara review – trailblazing feminist' The Guardian 03 January 2018
  18. ^ Bruton, Elizabeth (2018) 'When Suffragettes kicked open the lab door' Nature 10 January 2018
  19. ^ "Briefly Noted Book Reviews". The New Yorker. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  20. ^ Fara, Patricia (6 March 2013). "Women in science: Weird sisters?". Nature. 495 (7439): 43–44. Bibcode:2013Natur.495...43F. doi:10.1038/495043a.
  21. ^ "2022 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 9 January 2022.