Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pioneer Women in Aviation A-Z - LIST

A - Elsa Andersson
B - Sophie Blanchard
C - Bessie Colman
D -Helene Dutrieu
E - Amelia Earhart

F - Cornelia Fort
G - Frances Wilson Grayson
H - Hilda Hewlett
I - Intrepid
J - Evelyn Bryan Johnson 

K - Kwon Ki-ok
L - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
M - Marie Marvingt
N - Blanche Noyes
O - Phoebe Omlie 
P - Therese Peltier

Q - Harriet Quimby
R - Bessica Raiche
S - Blanche Stuart Scott
T - E. Lillian Todd 

U - Unknown Pilots - The Night Witches

V - Polly Vacher
W - Nancy Bird Walton
X - X-wing pilots
Y - Hazel Ying Lee
Z - Berta Zerón

Reflection post on A-Z

Z for Zoologist, Phythias: Female Scientists Before Our Time

And so, we come to the end of the A to Z, to one of the least documented of the women in this series, Phythias the Elder, the first wife of Aristotle. Born sometime around 344 BC, Phythias was the niece and adopted daughter of King Hermias of Atarneus, an ancient Greek city in Asia Minor near the island of Lesbos. Today this would be on the west coast of Turkey.

King Hermias’s rule extended from Atarneus to the city of Assos, where Aristotle had opened an academy. In addition to being a great philosopher, Aristotle was a practicing botanist, zoologist and marine biologist. He and Hermias became friends, which is how Aristotle met and eventually married eighteen-year-old Phythias. Aristotle was thirty-seven.

The two honeymooned on the island of Lesbos in the port city of Mytilene on the Agean Sea. Apparently, Phythias was a budding embryologist, biologist and zoologist. The honeymooners spent time collecting living specimens of every sort. Although sources are sketchy and some doubtful, one source claims that Phythias was Aristotle’s “assistant” in research. She had her own collection of manuscripts and some claim she was the first female marine zoologist. As coauthor (uncredited) she collaborated with Aristotle on two works for an encyclopedia of animals: History of Animals and On the Parts of Animals and On the Generation of Animals.

Phythias and Aristotle had one daughter, Phythias the Younger. After only ten years of marriage Phythias died around 326 BC, leaving Aristotle to raise a daughter alone. He then remarried and had a son, but his love for Phythias lasted a lifetime. When he died in his sixties, he requested their bones be buried together, as had also been requested by Phythias. 

 Source:;;  Anthony Kenny. A New History of Western Philosophy, Vol. 5, 2007.
Elisabeth Brooke. Women Healers: Portraits of Herbalists, Physicians, and Midwives, 1995 p. 12.
Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie, Joy Dorothy Harvey. The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z, 2000.;

Sharon M. Himsl

Writer/Author. Blogging since 2011. 
Published with Evernight Teen: 
~~The Shells of Mersing

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y for Yi Shuo: Female Scientists Before Our Time

Post Card art-W. Han Dynasty
Sometime during the Chinese Western Han Dynasty two thousand years ago, in the eastern region of China near the Yellow River, lived a famous woman doctor named Yi Shuo. From an early age, Yi had a keen interest in herbal medicine and was determined to learn more. She questioned the doctors passing through her town, slowly growing in her knowledge. By the time she was a teenager, she knew where to look for herbs in the mountains and how to pound them into a pulp for treatment of her villager's wounds and injuries.

One story tells of Yi's ability to treat dropsy (today known as edema). A patient arrived at her door seeking help with abdominal dropsy. Her protruding belly was larger than that of a pregnant woman, and yet she was wasted and thin elsewhere in her body and struggled to breathe. After a thorough examination, Yi pulled out her supply of silver needles and began pricking the woman’s belly and legs. Medicine powder was applied to the woman’s navel next and a band of silk soaked in hot water was wrapped around her belly. A final treatment of medicinal food was fed to the patient.

A few days passed. The patient’s dropsy had reduced noticeably and within ten days she was up and about and her old self again. Word spread of Yi’s ability, eventually reaching the Emperor Wu of Han himself. Impressed with Yi’s medical skills, he promptly gave her a position in the palace and made her the Imperial Doctor. From that time forward, Yi’s responsibility was to treat and oversee the health of the Empress dowager (or Empress Mother), who it is said, “deeply trusted” Yi.

In general, medicine during the Han Dynasty was based on the belief that forces of nature affecting the universe also affected the human body. A body out of balance (yin and yang) required medicine to counteract the balance. Organs of the body were associated with one of five phases (Earth, Wood, Fire, Metal and Water). 

To function properly, the phases needed to be in harmony. If illness showed up in a particular organ, it was a sign that qi (or vital energy) had been disturbed. In the case of Yi’s patient, her Earth phase would have been out of whack. Yi might have prescribed a diet, considered moxibustion (burning moxa on or near a person's skin as a counter irritant), suggested calisthenics, and/or administered acupuncture, which she did with the silver needles.


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.