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Jane Goodall; Research Paper Biography; Women And Minorities In Science

1591 words - 6 pages

Many may not consider a person who sits alone in a jungle for years interacting with monkeys a scientist, or even sane for that matter. However, Jane Goodall was both. Her years studying the chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Research Center on the shores of Lake Tanganyika of Tanzania, Africa influenced theories on evolution, animal behavior, habitat preservation, and even animal rights. She has published numerous books, won many awards, and had a lasting, positive effect on the lives of people everywhere.Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934 in London, England to Mortimer Herbert Goodall and Vanne Morris Goodall (Notable Women Scientists 213). She and her sister, Judy, grew up in Bournemouth, a town on the southern coast of England (The Goodall Institute). As a child, her favorite toy was a stuffed monkey that her father named Jubilee after a chimpanzee born in the London Zoo at that time (The Goodall Institute). Many of her parents' friends thought the young girl would be scared by the stuffed animal, but instead she loved it. In fact, she still has Jubilee in her home more than 60 years later (The Goodall Institute).As a child, Jane had a boundless interest in animals. Once, while visiting a farm, she hid in a henhouse for five hours waiting for a hen to lay an egg (Women in Science 81). Even in her youth, Jane exhibited great patience, as well as a thirst for knowledge. Instead of changing their daughter's interests into something more common of young girls at that time, her parents nurtured her inquisitiveness. Her mother told her, "Jane, if you really want something, and if you work hard, take advantage of the opportunities and never give up, you will somehow find a way," (The Goodall Institute). Vanne Goodall's never-ending support will later help Jane make her most significant scientific contribution.Unlike most scientists of her stature, Jane had very little education in her area of expertise. She attended the Uplands Private School in England to get her high school diploma (Notable Women Scientists 213), but left when she was 18 to work as a secretary at Oxford University. Her dream was to travel to Africa, and raise money for doing so, she took a part time job with a London-based documentary film company (Notable Women Scientists 213). In 1957, a friend asked Jane to accompany her on a trip to South Kinangop, Kenya (Women in Science 81). It was just the break she needed.Once in Africa, Jane met Louis Leakey, the curator of the Coryndon Museum in Nairobi (WIC Biography). He was instantly impressed by her enthusiasm, and hired the 23-year-old as his secretary (National Geographic Famous Faces). After working with Leakey for several weeks on anthropological digs, he realized that Jane had the temperament that he needed for a long-term study on chimpanzees (Notable Women Scientists 213). He intended his study to not only be the first long-term study of chimpanzees in their natural habitat, but also to help anthropologists learn more about...

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