Wikipedia:WikiProject Women's History/NIMR2013

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Wikimedia UK, MRC and the Royal Society organised a Women in Science themed editing event on Thursday 25 July 2013 in London.

  • Date: Thursday 25 July 2013; in two parts - editathon runs 10:30am - 6pm; panel 12:30pm-2pm.
  • Venue: National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA
  • Cost: Free
  • Twitter hashtag: #WISWIKI
  • Resources to edit: see below
  • Participants: The editing session was for Wikipedia newcomers to learn how to edit. The morning session was a Wikipedia lesson, with an afternoon of editing after a panel discussion on women in science.
  • Photos from the day: see below

The event was open to people who are new to Wikipedia and experienced Wikipedia editors. Female editors were particularly encouraged to attend.


  • 10.30am – Introductions – NIMR Library
  • 10.35am – Guidance on how to edit Wikipedia – NIMR Library
  • 12.00pm – Lunch for editors – NIMR Library

  • 12:30pm – Welcome by Professor Jim Smith
  • 12.40pm – Message from Jenifer Glynn on Rosalind Franklin
  • 12.50pm – Talk by Professor Dame Athene Donald
  • 13.15pm - Panel discussion, led by Professor Dame Athene Donald, panel to include Anne O'Garra

  • 2:00pm - 5:00pm - Edit-a-thon – NIMR Library
  • 5.00pm – Cake cutting – NIMR Library
  • We can continue editing until 6.00pm

At the workshop, representatives from Wikimedia UK explained how Wikipedia works and answered questions about editing and improving Wikipedia articles. There was access to NIMR Library's printed and online collections with NIMR Librarians on hand to introduce the resources and provide guidance on finding information.

The day began with a tutorial on how to edit Wikipedia, and in the afternoon attendees put this into practice, creating and editing articles.

In the middle of the day there were be talks and a panel discussion, led by Dame Athene Donald and Dr Anne O'Garra, on women's experiences in science, diversity in the scientific workforce more generally, together with how under-representation can be tackled in the future.

London participants[edit]

Participants were encouraged to bring their own laptops, and some were available from WMUK in case people did not have their own.

30% of the attendees were from NIMR, the rest travelled from around London to attend; 85% were women.

Online participation[edit]

We welcomed participants to communicate with us online:

  • Twitter hashtag: #WomenSciWP
    • @wikimediauk, @royalsociety
  • IRC: #wikimedia-uk

Online participants[edit]

  1. MartinPoulter (talk) (in the evening only) Particularly interested in statisticians.
  2. Mary Mark Ockerbloom (talk) 20:25, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
  3. Andrew Davidson (talk) 23:00, 25 July 2013 (UTC) - did Delphine Parrott

Topics for NIMR editathon[edit]

Surname First names Known as Dates Dates at NIMR Division(s) Main field Key discovery Photo Image Key paper PF Note
Durham Florence Margaret 1869-1949 1919-1930 Biochemistry and Pharmacology Genetics; Biol Standards Standards for neosalvarsan; genetics of alcoholism in mice
Niven Janet Simpson Ferguson 1902-1974 1947-1967 Bacteriology & Virus Research; Laboratory of Cytopathology Pathology; histology scrub typhus vaccine; host response to microbial and virus infections; fluorescence microscopy
Bruce Hilda M. 1903-1974 1928-1933; 1944-1963
Pitt-Rivers Rosalind Venetia 1907-1990 1942-1972 Biochemistry; Chemistry
Balfour Brigid M. 1914-1994 1945-1978 Biological Standards; Immunology
Smith Audrey U. 1915-1981 1950-1967 Experimental Biology Moved to CRC
Lobban Mary Constance Cecile 1922-1982 1959-1974 Human Physiology
Mussett Marjorie Violet 1922-2005 1951-1974 Biological Standards; Statistical Services
Askonas Brigitte Alice 1923-2013 1952-1989 Immunology
Cotes Phoebe Mary Mary 1923? - 1961-1974 Biological Standards
Ogilvie Bridget 1938- 1963-1981 Parasitology
Beddington Rosa 1956-2001 1993-2001 Mammalian Development
de Rossi Rosemary Biological Standards; Immunology First female head technician at NIMR
Hogg Nancy ? 1970 ICRF/LRI 1982-
Griffin Beverley ? ICRF/LRI 1973-1984. Then Imperial Coll
Parrott Delphine ? 1954-1960 ICRF 1960-1967
Franklin Rosalind 1920-1958 Kings
Lonsdale Kathleen 1903-1971 UCL
McLaren Anne 1927-2007 Mamm Dev Unit; UCL
Lane-Claypon Janet 1877-1967 Wrote first book MRC published

Other MRC scientists[edit]

Surname First names Consent needed Main field Key discovery
Widdowson Elsie Fortification of food with vitamins during war time
Frith Uta Yes Changing the face of autism
Davies Kay Yes Screening for muscular dystrophy
Lyon Mary Yes Discovery of X-chromosome inactivation
Chick Henrietta
Press Elizabeth "Betty" Chemical structure of antibodies and how they bind to antigens determined
Smith Audrey U. Discovery of cryobiology
Darbyshire Janet Yes First co-ordinating clinical trials and epidemiological studies of tuberculosis, asthma and other respiratory diseases
McLaren Anne Yes
Thornton Janet structural bioinformatics
Taylor-Papadimitriou Joyce Interferons
Stephenson Marjory microbial biochemistry
Barré-Sinoussi Françoise Yes


  • The Wellcome Library provided log ins for the day. Their online resources can be accessed for free if you go to the library and register in person.
  • Sections of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography were printed off for use by participants.
  • Various books and journals were made available from the institute's library.


Please email Daria if you are interested in helping out.

  • Richard Nevell
  • Katie Chan
  • Edward Hands



For further images from the day see Commons:Category:MRC NIMR editathons

Blog post & outcomes[edit]

Could “Reanimating Ice-cold Rats” and “Resuscitating Hamsters” inspire Wikipedia editors to revitalise our coverage of pioneering women scientists?

With a lunchtime talk and panel Q&A led by Professor Dame Athene Donald FRS, highlighting the many subtle and unconscious biases that make it harder for women to get to senior positions in science, and what we can all do to address them. Such as getting more women editing Wikipedia, and increasing our coverage of notable women in science.

Organised jointly with the Medical Research Council and the Royal Society, our edit-a-thon at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Mill Hill, London had a full house (and a waiting list), 20 women and 3 men.

The occasion was 25 July, Rosalind Franklin (of DNA fame)'s birthday, with cake cutting at 5pm (DNA spirals around the sides and her famous “photograph 51” on top) and NIMR goodie bags to reward attendees for their contributions.

All taking place against the backdrop of surely the best view from any London library. Expert support and access to a wide range of paper and online resources was provided by NIMR librarians Frank Norman and Patti Biggs, and Phoebe Harkins from the Wellcome Library.

New articles were started on the day for seven NIMR women: Brigid Balfour, Florence Durham, Mary Lobban, Marjorie Mussett, Delphine Parrott, Elizabeth Press, and Audrey Smith.

And our first Did You Know (three more DYKs are in the review process) appeared on the Wikipedia home page on 1 August, garnering 1,770 page views:

“Did You Know that cryobiologist Audrey Smith's scientific papers include "A Simple Method for Reanimating Ice-cold Rats and Mice" and "Resuscitation of Hamsters after Supercooling or Partial Crystallization"? “

We could have mentioned how her accidental discovery of the first practical cryoprotectant molecule, glycerol, enabled the freezing of human red blood cells, but bringing small animals back from the dead is the better hook for a wider audience.

NIMR women biographies expanded most on the day included: Hilda Bruce, Rosalind Pitt-Rivers, Brigitte Askonas, Bridget Ogilvie, Rosa Beddington, Rosalind Franklin and Anne McLaren.

We've had excellent press coverage in The Guardian, Times Higher Education, Cambridge News, Athene Donald's blog, as well as MRC and The Royal Society. Twitter activity (hashtag: #WISWIKI) and retweeting on the day itself helped too.

Our new editors will get credit for these DYKs on their talk pages, and can watch their articles grow, hopefully encouraging them to become regular contributors. And they all agreed that they would do at least one edit a month, so we have an excuse to give them a gentle nudge in early September. Edwardx (talk) 09:24, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Additionally, as the result of the event MRC started releasing photos of their scientists, an initial list of which you can see here.

Further information[edit]

For further information about the programme, please contact or Daria Cybulska at, 0207 065 0994.