Ursula Franklin RIP: "Peace is not the absence of war but the absence of fear"
Ursula Franklin, Quaker, feminist, pacifist, anit-war, Holocaust survivor, ground breaking scientist and writer has just died. I know Ursula and her husband Fred from the Quakers Toronto Monthly Meeting (The Religious Society of Friends). Hearing Ursula's ministry in Meeting was a great gift. Although a renowned scientist and academic (the first woman hired by University of Toronto's Faculty of Engineering in 1967 as a professor of metallurgy and materials science) her ministry was more often about Christian faith and social justice. She spoke in a slow, emphatic, slightly accented and moving manner. She was both rational and spiritual. Her husband Fred spoke less often, but his work with both jails and refugees was also inspirational and grounded in Quaker witness and his ministry. It was a privilege to know them both.
The Ursula Franklin Reader
Ursula was part of the vibrant Canadian feminist movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. She was active in the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Toronto District School Board has even named one of its most successful focus schools specializing in liberal arts and science after her, the Ursula Franklin Academy. You can read about the many facets of Ursula's life through her rich legacy of writings:
Ursula Franklin Speaks: thoughts and afterthoughts 1986-2012
Her Massey lecture, The Real World of Technology, touched more on her scientific and technology interests.
You may also enjoy this lengthy interview from the Atlantic Monthly.
From Ursula Franklin's obituary there is this quotation:
In Ursula's honour, consider small acts that will make the world and our society a better place. Ursula was a proponent of "the earthworm theory"- it is the little acts that prepare the soil and nurture the seedlings so that bigger actions can follow and flourish.