Pythagoras’ Trousers: God, Physics and the Gender Wars

Margaret Wertheim

Why have men dominated science from the Ancient Greeks to the present day? In this searing work of revisionist feminist history, Margaret Wertheim finds the answer where God and physics meet.

In this fascinating synthesis of science, religion and gender politics Wertheim demonstrates that, from its inception, physics has been an overwhelmingly male-dominated activity and continues to be so today. She puts forward the startling hypothesis that gender inequity in physics is a result of the religious origins of the enterprise. Physics, she reveals, is a science based on a conception of God as a divine mathematical creator. And in line with Christian institutions it has historically been closed to women.

’A rare and welcome mix in science writing, combining impressively detailed historical knowledge with delightful readability and fuelling it all with that rarest of ingredients in this genre, a deeply felt moral and feminist passion. On Wertheim’s guided and immensely accessible tour through the centuries-long development of physics, we learn how science, far from displacing the all-male priesthood, emulated it – and consequently how the physics lab became another Vatican with a no-girls-allowed sign on its door.’ Susan Faludi, author of Backlash

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