Lost Women of Science

Lost Women of Science tells the remarkable stories of groundbreaking women who never got the full recognition they deserved – until now.

The Lost Women of Science Initiative is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with two related missions: To tell the forgotten stories of female scientists who made groundbreaking achievements in their fields and to inspire girls and young women to embark on careers in STEM.

The Initiative’s flagship is the Lost Women of Science podcast, which, through deep reporting and rich storytelling, revisits the historical record one extraordinary scientist at a time.

Listen to Season 5

In 1965, a team of doctors at Rockefeller University announced what sounded like a miracle—they’d found a treatment for heroin addiction that actually seemed to work.

For nearly two years, the researchers had been running an experiment with a small group of men, aged 19 to 37, who’d been using heroin for several years—and the results were astonishing. Men who’d been transfixed by heroin cravings for years, who had tried to quit before and failed, were suddenly able to return to their lives. One started painting. Another finished high school and got a scholarship to go to college. 

The key to these transformations was a drug called methadone. But the treatment was controversial, and one of the doctors on the team already had a bit of a reputation as a bold, and possibly even reckless, defier of convention: Marie Nyswander.

This season, we bring you her story and the radical treatment that would upend the landscape of addiction for decades to come.

Art credit: Graphic design by Janice Fung

Listen to the TrailerListen to Episode 1Listen to Episode 2Listen to Episode 3Listen to Episode 4Listen to Episode 5Listen to Bonus Episode

The Lost Women of Science Tip Line

Here at Lost Women of Science, it is our goal to rescue female scientists from the jaws of obscurity, but we need your help! If there’s a woman you’re aware of who achieved something remarkable but has been omitted from the historical record, we want to know. Leave a brief message at (415) 754-0625 and we’ll be sure to get back to you! Be sure to leave your full name, where you're calling from, and the best way to reach you, as well as the scientist's full name and her scientific field. Alternatively, you may use our contact form. We appreciate your support in bringing the stories of trailblazing female scientists to light!

Call: (415) 754-0625

What our listeners say

Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

What a great idea for a show! The Matilda Effect episode was fascinating. Can’t wait for more. Telling all of my friends about this!

- cgb41, Apple Podcasts
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

Wonderful podcast!
Inspiring story of a bright and compassionate physician, ahead of her time. I am fascinated and eager for future episodes. What a delightful random discovery!

-Annie Flycaster, Apple Podcasts
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

Great show
Fabulous concept, well executed. I really like the voice of the host too, which is often a sticking point with me. Congratulations, all!

-Saltman52, Apple Podcasts
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

Waiting (not so) patiently for each episode!
This show was recommended on another podcast I listen to and I am so glad to have found this gem! This podcast is well done and inspiring. The narrator’s voice is very even and the story is unfolded so you’re left on a cliffhanger waiting to hear about the next chapter of these great ladies lives! Definitely sending this to friends.

-Bananabox116, Apple Podcasts
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

I have already shared this on my Facebook and will be hyping it when more episodes come out on my science tiktok! More please and soon!

-Shadowstar films & photography, Apple Podcasts
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

Absolutely love the Lost Women of Science podcast and am SO excited to hear the new season! It's like a true crime podcast but for women in STEM!

-Sibina Wex (@SabuWex), Twitter
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

The second episode of Lost Women of Science, my new favourite podcast, is named The Matilda Effect.
Matilda Effect means someone else gets credit for a woman's work and that someone else is a man.

-Umme H. Faisal, MBBS (@stethospeaks), Twitter
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

I have shared the show more than once on social media. I believe it's extremely important to showcase these women in science - most of whom, even as a math/science teacher, I am unfamiliar with. Thank you!

- Emma S., PRX
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

Loved the series on Clara Von Neuman (got me hooked). I've begun rolling my eyes at mentions of Ada Lovelace (over credited, but great communicator about the Babbage Engine). However, I now have a GREAT to highlight as a better example.

- Helen T., PRX
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

As a woman trained in physics, I look forward to these stories. Especially loved the one about Madame Wu :)

- Evelyne Y., PRX
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

Great show. I like how fair and balanced it is. Credits all people when deserved. Really appreciate efforts by Katie Hafner and team to explore depths of story.

- David H., PRX
Stars Icon - Podcast X Webflow Template

I’m a podcast snob - can’t stand poor audio, lazy editing - and this show is so good on every level, from story to interview style to sound quality. LOVE IT!

- Theresa G., PRX

About our host

Katie Hafner

Host & Executive Producer

Katie Hafner was a longtime reporter for The New York Times, where she continues to be a frequent contributor. Katie is uniquely positioned to tell the stories of lost women of science. Not only does she bring a skilled hand to complex narratives, but she has been writing about women in STEM for nearly 30 years. She is the author of six books of non-fiction, and her first novel, The Boys, was published in July 2022 by Spiegel & Grau. Katie is also the host and executive producer of Our Mothers Ourselves, an interview podcast that celebrates extraordinary mothers.