Patricia Fara

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Patricia Fara
Patricia Fara.jpg
Patricia Fara in May 2018
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Known forWomen in science
Scientific career
FieldsHistory of science
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge

Patricia Fara is a historian of science at the University of 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 Emeritus 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] In 2016, Fara became President of the British Society for the History of Science, as well as 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] She 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]

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, Mona Chalmers Watson, Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, Isabel Emslie Hutton, Flora Murray, Ida Maclean, Marie Stopes, and Martha Annie Whiteley.[7][9][10] 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. She has written Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009) [11][12] which won the 2011 Dingle Prize awarded by the British Society for the History of Science, and Erasmus Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity (2012).[13] Her most recent book is A Lab of One's Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War" (2017).[14][15]


  • Fara, P. (2002) An Entertainment for Angels: Electricity in the Enlightenment Icon Books
  • Fara, P. (2002) Newton: The Making of Genius Pan-MacMillan
  • 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, P. (2004) Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment Pimlico Books
  • Fara, P. (2005) Fatal Attraction: Magnetic Mysteries of the Enlightenment Icon Books
  • Fara, P. (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.



  1. ^ Sobel, Dava (2018-03-19). "Science's Invisible Women". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  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 (2017-06-07). "Keep women in academia by providing childcare, historian urges universities". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  5. ^ "List of articles". Antiquarian Horology. 37. 2016.
  6. ^ Moulds, Alison (2018-02-15). "Patricia Fara on In Our Time". The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS). Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  7. ^ a b Aut, Baldwin Melinda author (2018-08-10). "Q&A: Patricia Fara on the British women scientists who broke barriers". doi:10.1063/PT.6.4.20180810a.
  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 2019-01-17.
  10. ^ "Book Excerpt from A Lab of One's Own". The Scientist Magazine®. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  11. ^ Fara, Patricia (2009) Science: A Four Thousand Year History Oxford: Oxford University Press
  12. ^ Ferry, Georgina (2009) 'Under the Microscope' The Guardian 25 April 2009 Retrieved 16 August 2010
  13. ^ Fara, Patricia (2012) Erasmus Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity Oxford: Oxford University Press
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Bruton, Elizabeth (2018) 'When Suffragettes kicked open the lab door' Nature 10 January 2018