Episode Description

Hunting for a lost portrait of Dr. Dorothy Andersen highlights how the “dude walls” found at so many institutions shape our understanding of the past. 

The missing portrait of Dr. Andersen takes us on a journey into the perils of memorialization and who gets to be remembered. Dr. John Scott Baird, Dorothy Andersen’s biographer, looks for the portrait, and Drs. Nientara Anderson and Lizzy Fitzsousa, former medical students at Yale University, explain how “dude walls” — the paintings of male scientists that line institutional walls — can have an insidious effect on those who walk past them every day. And we go back to Columbia University to give you an update on the hunt for the missing portrait.


Katie Hafner


Tracy Wahl and Sophie McNulty


Design: Keren Mevorach, Marina Muun; Photograph courtesy of Columbia University 


Dorothy Hansine Andersen: The Life and Times of the Pioneering Physician-Scientist Who Identified Cystic Fibrosis, by John Scott Baird, Springer (2022).

The Sweat Test and Potential Difference Measurements, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, summary of scientific papers, starting with one Dorothy Andersen co-wrote in 1951.

Breath from Salt, by Bijal P. Trivedi, BenBella Books (2020).

Academic Science Rethinks All-Too-White ‘Dude Walls’ Of Honor, by Nell Greenfieldboyce, National Public Radio, August 25, 2019.

Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940, by Margaret W. Rossiter, Johns Hopkins University Press (1982).

Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s Lifelong Mission to Fix That, by Susan Dominus, Smithsonian Magazine, October 2019.


We’re grateful to all those who helped us with our first season, to our guests on the podcast, and to the archivists at Mount Holyoke College for helping with our search.

Episode Transcript

All The Pathologist in the Basement episodes