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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ruth Hubbard is Professor Emerita of Biology at Harvard University, where she was the first woman to hold a tenured professorship position in biology. [1]



Hubbard was born in Austria and escaped Nazism as a teenager. With her family, she moved to the Boston area and she became a biologist.[1] In her Ph.D studies at Harvard in the years after World War II, she worked under George Wald, investigating the biochemistry of retinal and retinol.[2] During her active research career from the 1940s to the 1960s, she "made important contributions to the understanding of the biochemistry and photochemistry of vertebrates and invertebrates."[1] In 1967, she and Wald shared the Paul Karrer Medal for their work in this area.[1]

Hubbard married George Wald in 1958, and they became the parents of two children: a son, musician and music historian Elijah Wald, and a daughter, Deborah Wald.[2]

Social commentary and political activity

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hubbard's interests shifted away from research science toward social and political issues. In her book The Politics of Women's Biology, she wrote that she had been a "devout scientist" from 1947 until the late 1960s, but the Vietnam War and the women's liberation movement led her to change her priorities. Also, after being promoted in 1973 from what she called the "typical women's ghetto" of "research associate and lecturer" positions to a tenured faculty position at Harvard, she felt increased freedom to pursue new interests. [3]

Ruth Hubbard has criticized sociobiologists.

It is beyond comprehension, in this century which has witnessed holocausts of ethnic, racial, and religious extermination in many parts of our planet, perpetrated by peoples of widely different cultural and political affiliations and beliefs, that educated persons—scholars and popularizers alike—can come forward to argue, as though in complete innocence and ignorance of our recent history, that nothing could be more interesting and worthwhile than to sort out the “racial” or “ethnic” components of our thoroughly mongrelized species so as to ascertain the root identity of each and everyone of us. And where to look for that identity if not in our genes?[4]

Ruth Hubbard is listed as a supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal on the Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal website.[5]

Partial bibliography



  • Ruth Hubbard and George Wald (1952), Cis-trans Isomers of Vitamin A and Retinene in the Rhodopsin System, The Journal of General Physiology, Vol 36, 269-315
  • Ruth Hubbard, Robert I. Gregerman, and George Wald (1953), Geometrical Isomers of Retinene, The Journal of General Physiology, Vol 36, 415-429
  • Ruth Hubbard and Robert C. C. St. George (1958), The Rhodopsin System of the Squid, The Journal of General Physiology 1958 January 20; 41(3): 501–528.
  • Ruth Hubbard and Allen Kropf (1958), The Action of Light on Rhodopsin, Proceedings National Academy of Sciences U S A. 1958 February; 44(2): 130–139.
  • Ruth Hubbard,Deric Bownds, and Tôru Yoshizawa (1965), The Chemistry of Visual Photoreception, Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology 1965. 30:301-315
  • Ruth Hubbard (1988), Science, Facts and Feminism, Hypatia, v. 3, no. 1 (Spring 1988)
  • R. Hubbard and R.C. Lewontin (1996), Pitfalls of Genetic Testing, New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 334:1192-1194, Number 18, 2 May, 1996
  • Ruth Hubbard (2006), Race & Genes, in Is Race Real?, a web forum sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, June 7, 2006


  • Ruth Hubbard (1990), The Politics of Women's Biology, Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813514908, ISBN 978-0813514901
  • Ruth Hubbard and Elijah Wald (1993), Exploding the Gene Myth: How Genetic Information Is Produced and Manipulated by Scientists, Physicians, Employers, Insurance Companies, Educators, and Law Enforcers, Beacon Press. ISBN 0807004316, ISBN 978-0807004319
  • Ruth Hubbard (1995), Profitable Promises: Essays on Women, Science & Health, Common Courage Press. ISBN 1567510418, ISBN 978-1567510416


  1. ^ a b c d Ruth Hubbard, Cambridge Forum Speakers 1970-1990, accessed November 29, 2009
  2. ^ a b John E. Dowling, "George Wald, 1906–1997: A Biographical Memoir" in Biographical Memoirs, Washington, D.C.: The National Academy Press (National Academy of Sciences), Volume 78, 298:317.
  3. ^ Ruth Hubbard (1990), The Politics of Women's Biology, Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813514908, ISBN 978-0813514901. pages 1-2.
  4. ^ Ruth Hubbard (2006), Race & Genes
  5. ^ List of Supporters by State, Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal website, accessed November 29, 2009

External links


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