Paola Bertucci has won the Margaret W. Rossiter Prize for the best article on the history of women in science for her article “The In/visible Woman: Mariangela Ardinghelli and the Circulation of Knowledge between Paris and Naples in the Eighteenth Century,” published in Isis in June 2013. The prize is awarded by the History of Science Society.
Here’s the article’s abstract:
Mariangela Ardinghelli (1730–1825) is remembered as the Italian translator of two texts by the Newtonian physiologist Stephen Hales, Haemastaticks and Vegetable Staticks. This essay shows that her role in the Republic of Letters was by no means limited to such work. At a time of increasing interest in the natural history of the areas around Naples, she became a reliable cultural mediator for French travelers and naturalists. She also acted as an informal foreign correspondent for the Paris Academy of Sciences, connecting scientific communities in Naples and France. Unlike other learned women of the time, Ardinghelli was neither an aristocrat nor a member of the ascendant middle class. The essay discusses the strategies she devised to build her authority and her choice of anonymity at the apex of her popularity, when she translated scientific texts by contemporary celebrities such as the abbe´ Nollet and the comte de Buffon. It argues that, in spite of Ardinghelli’s historical invisibility, for her contemporaries she never became an “invisible assistant”: she constructed layers of selective visibility that allowed her authorship to be identified by specific audiences, while protecting herself from social isolation or derision.