Evelyn Fox Keller

March 20, 1936–September 22, 2023

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Evelyn Fox Keller until we are able to commission a full entry.

Physicist, biologist, professor, and writer, Evelyn Fox Keller.

Evelyn Fox Keller’s work in gender, biology, and the history of science led her to question the gendered metaphors and assumptions of biologists and sociologists, which often blinded them to basic scientific facts. Keller earned her PhD in physics from Harvard and explored the intersection of physics and biology before beginning research on women’s experiences in science in 1965. She interviewed women scientists, explored the ways in which science currently understood gender, and investigated scientists’ attitudes about gender going back to the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution. Keller argued that the metaphors we use to frame knowledge change the questions we ask and the way we understand our relationship to our environment, our society, and our own bodies. Similarly, thinking of the individual as the genetic and sociological base unit ignores issues of reproduction as well as sex-based differences in everything from metabolism and disease resistance to color perception. Through her extensive writing and lecturing on these issues, Keller helped change science’s understanding of itself.She received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000, inclusion in the Science Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Israeli Dan David Prize in 2018. She publicly donated the Dan David Prize to Israeli human rights organizations. In 2007 she served on the advisory board of FFIPP (Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace-USA), a network of Palestinian, Israeli, and international faculty and students working to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and towards a “just peace.” In March 2023 she published Making Sense of My Life in Science: A Memoir. Evelyn Fox Keller died on September 22, 2023. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Evelyn Fox Keller." (Viewed on May 23, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/keller-evelyn-fox>.