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A Recipe for Invention

Scientist (and Engineer) Biographies


Traci E. Morris
Department of Biological Sciences
Binghamton University
Susannah Gal
Department of Biological Sciences
Penn State Harrisburg


In this case study, designed to help break down stereotypes about scientists and engineers, students research the personal and professional lives of researchers in their field. The case was designed for use in high school to graduate courses in a variety of scientific disciplines, including molecular biology, biochemistry, geology, chemistry, psychology, mathematics, computer science, engineering, and anthropology. In the teaching notes, the authors provide lists of scientists for each of these disciplines as well as suggestions for classroom activities that can be used in various combinations to build on the students’ biographical research.


  • To allow students an understanding of the human side of science.
  • To encourage an understanding of the history of a scientific field.
  • In certain cases, to show how changing biases, politics and wars, economics, and technology can greatly affect science.


Famous scientists; engineers; inventors; biography; sociology of science

Topical Areas

History of science, Women in science

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate



Type / Methods

Discussion, Student Presentations



Subject Headings

Science (General)  |   Chemistry (General)  |   Medicine (General)  |   Biology (General)  |   Anthropology  |   Engineering (General)  |   Geology  |   Physics  |   Psychology  |   Mathematics  |   Computer Science  |   Molecular Biology  |   Science Education  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.