Family

The Grove family and friends, 1950s
The Grove family and friends, 1950s

How do scientists balance their working lives and their personal lives? How do marriage and children affect their careers? How do wives and husbands cope with the long absences and frequent relocations typical of some scientific disciplines? How do partners and children support scientific careers? These questions have tended to be posed only when the scientists concerned happen to be women, but they are just as important for men. Men as well as women developed ways for continuing their research while spending time with families, and field scientists in particular sought to integrate them (with varying degrees of success) into their data collection. Many men interviewed felt in hindsight that they had spent too little time with their children and had relied on the support of their wives who tookon the majority of the childcare. The burden was particularly heavy on those wives whose husbands went on extended expeditions to collect data, who moved frequently or who could be called away unexpectedly. A stable and secure family background was an asset to scientists in business and government service where professional and personal lives mingled during formal and informal social occasions that helped to generate mutual trust.

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