b. 1828- d. 1921.
Victorian spinster, early technological scientist, pioneering entomologist, member of the gentry, and first female Honorary Consulting Entomologist to the Royal Agricultural Society (1882).
Ormerod was one of the first agricultural scientists to advocate an interventionist approach to insect control. Earlier entomologists were curbed by their adhesion to the de rigeur providentialist philosophies necessitated by the dominant paradigm of natural theology, which posited that direct interference with nature's systems were an affront against the will of God. While it seems unlikely that all the providentialists of the day were equally as pious when it came to mosquitos, flies, wasps etc., this was nevertheless considered a primary principle in proposed applications of science and technology.
Ormerod, on the other hand, was a pioneer in the use of a pesticide called Paris green. For her pains, she was described as having "implored farmers to drench Nature in a slurry of poison".
To some observers, Ormerod's actions were a transgression not only of God's laws, but of the tenets of womanhood. One appalled clergyman wrote to her: "How far nobler is the crusade against sin and fashion, which are the real and awful causes of misery, suffering, and poverty... I would to God that you, madam, would turn your great talents in the truest interests of the poor."
Ormerod's supporters (and there were precious few) argued that the use of pesticides simply restored the balance of nature - which had been upset by the artificiality of planned agriculture into an unusual concentration of insect pests.
For her other work in the field, Ormerod was awarded numerous medals and awards, and is remembered today as a dedicated researcher, field scientist, and problem-solver.
John Brooke and Geoffrey Cantor, Reconstructing Nature
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) pp. 314-346