Saturday, April 02, 2005

Of Note: A Beginning and an End

After reading an article today about how the "bloggsphere" is dominated by white men, I decided it was past time for me to start a blog. And the way I see it, the most appropriate place to begin is by paying tribute to one incredible woman whose death marks the end of an important generation of female scientists: Georgeanna S. Jones, the woman behind the first "test tube baby" in the united states, the woman behind the pregnancy test, died March 26th at the age of 92. Georgeanna Jones was one of the country's first reproductive endocrinologists, and half of an amazing husband-and-wife team behind some of the most important advances in women's reproductive medicine in the twentieth century.

A few days before Georgeanna's death, I spoke with her husband, Howard Jones, who's a character in my book. He's well into his 90s, still going strong in science, and possessed of an incredible memory for the history of 20th century medicine (thankfully, since he's one of the last living scientists of his generation).

Much of what I write focuses on the history of medicine, and I often feel the pressure of time while I'm interviewing my sources. For the last eight years, while working on my book, I've been interviewing people in their 80s and 90s, many in failing health (though fortunately Howard Jones isn't one of them). I'm ever-aware that my work with them could be cut off at any moment, and that history could soon vanish with them. I treasure my time with each of them, and the stories they share with me. I only wish I'd gotten a chance to sit down with Georgeanna before she died ...

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