Although Blackburn’s family background is primarily English, she was born in Hobart, Tasmania, three years after the conclusion of World War II. Her father’s family travelled to Austrailia from Northern England in 1882. Her great-grandfather, Reverend Thomas Blackburn, was an Anglican minister who became obsessed with entomology after reading the Charles Darwin’s 1859 publication, Origin of the Species. After cataloguing many species in Hawaii, Thomas Blackburn moved to Australia to further his studies. Elizabeth’s father, Harold Blackburn, inherited his father’s scientific disposition and earned a medical degree from the University of Adelaide.
Similarly, Blackburn’s maternal side of the family shared an obsession with science and didn’t shy away from traveling. Blackburn’s maternal great-grandfather, Robert Logan Jack, was a geologist who surveyed minerals throughout China until 1904 when the Boxer Rebellion threatened both his and his son’s safety. His son, Blackburn’s grandfather, later wrote about his travels and perpetuated his father’s legacy, becoming a geologist himself. Though not through geology, Blackburn’s mother, Marcia Constance, pursued a scientific career earning a medical degree from the University of Melbourne during World War II...
... middle of paper ...
...te such a discovery without conducting any experimental work of their own. Unfortunately, the perception of women in science hadn’t progressed as far as science in that time. Consequently, Blackburn was forced to confront the problem she half-heartedly acknowledged. Her solution was, what she dubbed, protective coloration. Common social behaviors and female confidence had to be set aside and replaced with more calculated actions and responses in order for her majority male colleagues to accept her without feeling threatened or seeking romantic companionship. Of course, by adopting this method she was still able to
Brady, Catherine. Elizabeth Blackburn and the Story of Telomeres: Deciphering the Ends of DNA. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007. Print.
"Elizabeth H. Blackburn - Biographical." Elizabeth H. Blackburn - Biographical. Nobel Media AB, 2014. Web.
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