Tenure To Female Chemist Colleagues 'Dismayed' By Decision

Sharon Palmer
'SOMEWHAT SURPRISED': Sharon Palmer, who will have to leave next year, says "I thought it couldn't quite happen."
When C. Pauline Burt was hired by Smith College to teach chemistry, the periodic table numbered 86 elements. The neutron had yet to be discovered. Pluto, too, was unknown. United States President Woodrow Wilson presided over the first meeting of the League of Nations. Babe Ruth still played for the Boston Red Sox.

Burt was hired in 1919, the year after her colleague Jessie Cann. Both women became tenured professors of chemistry and taught into the 1950s, with Burt retiring in 1958. No woman hired since 1919 has won tenure in the chemistry department of the selective women's college in Northampton, Mass.

And that record will continue for at least another year. Physical-inorganic chemist and assistant professor Sharon Palmer was recently denied tenure...

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