Penn’s Ruth Cowan Elected to American Philosophical Society

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | | 215-898-9194May 21, 2014

The University of Pennsylvania’s Ruth Schwartz Cowan has been elected to the American Philosophical Society. She is professor emerita in the Department of History and Sociology of Science.

Election to the Society “recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in all fields.” Cowan was among 33 members elected this year.

Cowan, a historian of science and technology, has a particular focus on gender and women studies. Her books have explored the intersection of these fields as manifested in everyday life, including in the use of genetic screening and household technology. 

The American Philosophical Society is the oldest learned society in the United States and was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin—also Penn’s founder—for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Only 5,507 members have been elected to since 1743.