Women in science : 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world

by Rachel Ignotofsky

Paper Book, 2016




New York : Ten Speed Press, [2016]


Biography & Autobiography. Reference. Science. Young Adult Nonfiction. The New York Times bestseller Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. This fascinating collection contains information about relevant topics such as lab equipment and rates of women currently working in STEM fields. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!.… (more)


(84 ratings; 4.5)

User reviews

LibraryThing member nbmars
This book about great women scientists is also very much about great overlooked women scientists. Some of the telling sentences you will see in this book are: “Rosalind [Franklin] is remembered as a woman who should have won a Nobel prize.” And, “Despite Cecilia’s accomplishments [Cecilia
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Payne-Gaposchkin discovered the sun is made mostly of hydrogen and helium gas], being a woman meant she was only recognized as a technical assistant at Harvard.” And “Unfortunately, [Nettie Stevens, who discovered XX and XY chromosomes] [was] largely overlooked and forgotten.”

In fact, you will probably not recognize the names of most of these women, even though they made great discoveries. Rather, the men who worked with them or came after them got the credit. Fortunately, as the book moves forward in time, that trend changed, but not hugely; we are still more familiar with male scientists than females. This book seeks to change that pattern.

Fifty women get double-page spreads in this book, with clever illustrations by the author accompanying each profile. (At the end of the book there is an “addendum” with short blurbs on “More Women In Science.”) They are arranged chronologically by date of birth, beginning with the ancient astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher Hypatia in the fourth century and ending with Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, born in 1977. Each history includes background, achievements, quotes, reputation at the time, and legacy.

For example, in the sketch on Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Theoretical Physicist, we learn:

“[She] worked most of her life for little or no pay. Despite this, she solved one of the great mysteries of the universe.”

Born in Germany, Goeppert-Mayer was one of the “physics superstars” at the University of Göttingen, but when she and her husband immigrated to the U.S., only he was offered a position. Johns Hopkins did, however, let her set up a lab in an abandoned attic, where she worked for nine years without pay and did research resulting in ten publications on physics, quantum mechanics, and chemistry.

Because of the need for her intellectual skills during the race to create an atomic bomb, she finally got a job. She went on to prove the nuclear shell model explaining how isotopes behave that is now taught to every student. In 1963 she was awarded the Nobel prize in physics. But does anyone outside of physics know her name?

There are side graphics by each story also, featuring interesting facts and trivia about each person. To return to Goeppert-Mayer, she love smoking so much she often smoked two cigarettes at once! Grace Hopper, Navy Admiral and computer scientist, had a Jolly Roger pirate flag on her desk, we learn, because she was relentless in getting what her team needed. She also appeared on the David Letterman show. Gertrude Elion, a pharmacologist who created drugs for gout, singles, and herpes, started out as chemist testing pickles for grocery stores.

The women profiled represent a wide range of interests and accomplishments, and come from a variety of nationalities.

The book is enhanced by not only the marvelous illustrations by Ignotofsky, but a timeline, statistics in STEM (acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), a glossary of scientific terms, and a list of additional sources.

Evaluation: This terrific book will provide inspiration and enlightenment for all ages.
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LibraryThing member shaunesay
This was a wonderful introduction to women scientists that I think everyone would benefit from reading. The presentation is very attractive and colorful, with full page graphics, quick facts and quotes for each person as well as a short biography. A lot of great information proving that women have
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made many wonderful contributions to the science world in all areas, and that many were risk takers and determined to persevere in the face of discouragement. I really enjoyed learning about these fascinating women and their discoveries. I think it would be a great addition to classrooms to peak students interest in the different scientific fields.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
I got this book from a co-worker to read. This was a very well done book that has brief biographies of 50 women in science. It's put together very nicely and in a way that should be accessible to all ages.

The majority of the book is comprised of two page spreads on different women who made
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significant contributions to science in some way. These sections are interspersed with small sections on stats about women in STEM careers and descriptions of different scientific equipment

I loved all the fun facts shown on the pages and I enjoyed the illustration style and how fun and colorful it was.

My only small complaint is that I wish that instead of a characterized sketch there had been an actual photo of the woman in question included. I just feel like this would have showed the variety of types of women who work in science and emphasized the fact that it’s not how you look, it’s what you do that’s important.

Overall I really enjoyed this! This would be a great read for anyone; especially good for girls and women who are interested in science. This is one of the best books I have seen about women in science. It does a great job of highlighting these women’s lives in a brief page space.
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LibraryThing member kateprice88
I really liked this book. It is a short look at 50 women scientists, mathematicians, etc who changed the world. Each individual gets two pages - one is a short biopic, the other is an illustration with some additional facts. While I knew who some of the women were, I'd not heard of nearly enough of
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them. I will definitely be looking out for some longer, in depth books about some of these fantastic women. This book is great for what it is - a short look at some very amazing women that every person should know.
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LibraryThing member Brightman
Great summary well illustrated and made interesting to read and to look at...
LibraryThing member gincam
"Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World", by Rachel Ignotofsky, is a truly delightful book--it is both educational and entertaining. The author also provided the charming and quaint illustrations featured on the cover and throughout the book. Fifty women of science are given a
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spotlight, and over a dozen more are also nicely acknowledged. This is a work of wonder, enlightening and inspiring to all ages and genres. Among the more well-known ladies are Marie Curie, Lillian Gilbreth, Alice Ball, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, and Hedy Lamarr. While best known as a Hollywood star, and often referred to as "the most beautiful woman in the world", Ms. Lamarr was also quite the inventor. Her creation, FHSS (frequency-hopping spread spectrum), was not only used by our military to control torpedoes and communications, it is also the basis for the technology used today with smartphones, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices. Equally impressive and amazing are the endeavors and accomplishments of all the women of science. None of these ladies took no for an answer, they never gave up on what they believed, and the world will always be a better place for their magnificent efforts. Women and girls will be encouraged and motivated, and men and boys will be impressed and awed. This is science for everyone—it’s great to be a geek!

Book Copy Gratis Ten Speed Press via Blogging for Books
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LibraryThing member Mishker
Women in Science is a wonderful board book that features women through history and throughout the world who have contributed to science. Going chronologically through time, beginning with Hypatia, each page features a stylistically drawn scientist surrounded by tools of their trade and notes about
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their accomplishments and work in their field from simple to more complex. Women in Science includes women from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions for a diverse grouping. Women in Science also showcases a variety of sciences from Math, Astronomy, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Psychiatry, Biology and Ophthalmology. Children and adults will find something to love in this book.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member Castlelass
This book contains mini biographies of fifty women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Some are famous, such as Marie Curie, and others are lesser known. The book is short, so it does not provide much depth about each individual, but I enjoyed seeing so many women of
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science accumulated in one place. It gives the reader a sense of the many obstacles these women faced. I read this book as a precursor to reading more in depth about women in STEM. It definitely served my intended purpose.
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Original publication date


Physical description

127 p.; 24 cm


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