The surprisingly exciting story of the woman who studied slime moulds

Patricia Fara in Prospect:

The pioneer of slime mould research was an extraordinary mycologist called Gulielma Lister (1860-1949). Like many female scientists, she has vanished into near obscurity, yet her colleagues celebrated her as the “Queen of Slime Moulds.” In 1905, she was among the first 25 women admitted as a Fellow of London’s prestigious Linnean Society. She made quite an impression on that august group: one younger admirer remembered that she “removed her hat in deference to the sexless character of a Fellow. It was an unusual thing then for a lady to remove her hat, but we all took our cue from Miss Lister and did the same.” She broke the conventions of her time, and a century later her research lies behind a major new approach to computer software.

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