Pioneering women to be formally honoured on noted frieze to right historic

Florence Nightingale came out on top of the staff survey. Widely recognised as the founder of modern nursing, Nightingale also pioneered the use of statistics and infographics’ in hospital medicine.The inclusion of her name corrects a particular injustice: she is thought to have been considered by the original selection committee in the 1920s, but discounted because her name was said to be too long – despite it being the same length as Max von Pettenkofer, a German physician who championed good hygiene and is commemorated on the frieze.  “It’s a statement and it’s about the future as much as it’s about the past,” said Professor Peter Piot, director of the LSHTM. “This restores a historic injustice, to a certain degree.”Special planning permission was granted in May and the three surnames will be added in October to mark the institution’s 120th anniversary.  The main entrance to London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London Ball, an African American chemist who developed an injection to treat leprosy, will be the first black scientist to be included, adding further diversity. The women were selected by the university’s staff who were invited to nominate female “pioneers” of tropical medicine, who were contemporaries of the men already commemorated on the frieze.“We wanted to respect the historic nature of this building, which was inaugurated in 1929,” said Prof Piot. “So there are no living women.”The Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Sally Davies agreed.“It is very important to mark the outstanding contributions of women in science as it may inspire the next generation of female scientists. For too long the achievements of female scientists were overlooked including Rosalind Franklin [one of the pioneers of modern genetics]. This is beginning to change and I look forward to more celebrations of women in this field.” The facade of one of Britain’s most revered scientific institutions is to be altered to make way for the names of three women in a bid to set right a “historic injustice” against women.The names of Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie and Alice Ball will be chiseled into a 90-year-old historic frieze adorning the The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in the heart of Bloomsbury, London.The grade two listed facade has until now only boasted the names of male scientists, including the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner, the English physician who discovered the smallpox vaccine. Campaigners have long complained about the “airbrushing” of prominent women from history and recently – after a protected campaign – managed to get the author Jane Austin featured on the new £10 note.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The issue in the area of science is no less controversial and the alterations to the university’s frieze are designed to correct the imbalance. The women's surnames will be added in October to mark the institution's 120th anniversary Smaller versions of the three women’s names being manufacturedCredit:LSHTM Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. In a letter granting permission, Camden Council’s chief planning officer said adding the names would “positively contribute to the significance of this listed building, both historically and architecturally.”Dr Keogh said that she also hoped the additions would encourage more female students and academics to work in the field of global health.But commemorating the women would not automatically rectify the lack of female global health leaders, she added. “I think we still see that in the upper echelons of academia there are many more male professors. Women are overrepresented at the more junior levels,” she said.Research in The Lancet journal found that within global health centers at the top 50 universities in the US, women make up 84 per cent of the student body, but hold 24 per cent of leadership positions.  The women’s surnames will be added in October, joining 23 men including Louis PasteurCredit:LSHTM Dr Ruth Keogh, associate professor in the Medical Statistics Department at LSHTM, welcomed the initiative but said the women’s names should “probably” have been added sooner.“I think it is important to make these big gestures sometimes to really emphasise the values of the school,” she said.The physicist and chemist Marie Skłodowska-Curie was also highlighted by staff. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win the Nobel prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. The main entrance to London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in LondonCredit:LSHTM Her research was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery and she helped to fit ambulances with this equipment during the First World War. But it was Prof Piot who championed the addition of Alice Ball, an African American chemist who revolutionised early treatment options for leprosy after she developed an injection that was widely used for two decades.Prof Piot said that diversifying the people represented on the frieze was his ambition since he joined the university almost nine years ago, while leprosy was the disease that inspired him to enter global health. After Ball died in 1916, aged just 24, the president of the University of Hawaii – where she was the first woman to graduate with a Master’s degree in chemistry – published her findings as his own. Only decades later was Ball was given credit for her work. Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security  The women's names in carvings “I am delighted that Alice’s name will join the ranks of the many notable physicians and researchers,” said Paul Wermarger, a retired science librarian at the University of Hawaii who has researched Ball’s life and set up a scholarship in her name.“Alice’s work gave hope to both patients and physicians. That hope encouraged people afflicted with leprosy to seek treatment instead of trying to hide their disease” he said.The three women’s names will be displayed above the surnames of Sir John Pingle, Thomas Sydenham and James Lind – which sit over an entrance to the university on Gower Street. 

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