The brilliant theoretical physicist Mary K. Gaillard has made major contributions to the standard model of particle physics and to superstrings, a candidate theory of everything. In 1981, she became the first woman with a tenured position in the physics faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Her frank autobiography, A Singularly Unfeminine Profession, is an honest, revelatory account of her many discoveries, made as she battled gender bias and faced the demands of raising three children.
in New Jersey in 1939, Gaillard has a “survival mechanism” born from an
inherent belief in equality, nurtured by her parents and school, and a
rebellious tendency to question the world around her. Having fallen in
love with physics at school, she won a scholarship to Hollins College
near Roanoke, Virginia. It included a year in Paris at l'École
Polytechnique — her first exposure to the culture that was to become her
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