Tyng-Ruey Chuang

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Dawn Bazely: Why Nobel winner Donna Strickland didn't have a Wikipedia page


On Oct. 2, when Donna Strickland won a Nobel Prize in physics — the committee recognized her work on a method of generating laser beams with ultrashort pulses — she was only the third woman in history to do so. That day, she finally got a Wikipedia page of her own.

The long delay was not for lack of trying. Last May, an editor had rejected a submitted entry on Strickland, saying the subject did not meet Wikipedia’s notability requirement. Strickland’s biography went up shortly after her award was announced. If you click on the “history” tab to view the page’s edits, you can replay the process of a woman scientist finally gaining widespread recognition, in real time.


Upon receiving the Nobel, many commentators were surprised that she had not reached the rank of full professor. In response, Strickland said that she has "never applied" for a professorship; "it doesn't carry necessarily a pay raise", so she "never filled out the paper work." More simply: "I do what I want to do and that wasn't worth doing."

Tyng-Ruey Chuang at 2018-10-14T16:39:01Z