From the Publisher
"This collective biography is perfectly suited to thematic research as well as to reading for pleasure."
"Another wonderful addition to the series, detailing common knowledge and little-known facts about historical figures."
—School Library Journal
"Yes! Krull and Hewitt are back with another of those books, the eighth entry in their delightful Lives of . . . series."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Eight short, lively chapters introduce twenty influential scientists of the modern era. Krull emphasizes memorable, and often humorously indiosyncratic, character traits."
—The Horn Book Magazine
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Another wonderful addition to the series, detailing common knowledge and little-known facts about historical figures. Krull asks the question, "What were these men and women like as human beings-in the laboratory and out of it?" She answers it well, giving a multifaceted picture of 20 scientists' personal lives and professional accomplishments, though more information about some of the lesser-known individuals might have provided a better idea of their work. Readers learn about great discovery and great quirkiness. James D. Watson and Francis Crick figured out the structure of DNA, but apparently Watson was in it just to meet girls. Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity but described his good friend Marie Curie as "not attractive enough to represent a danger to anyone" when she became enamored of a married man. Edwin Hubble had a passion for the stars but had the obnoxious habit of trying to sound smarter than his guests by wowing them with obscure information he looked up in an encyclopedia before parties. A strong point of this volume is the inclusion of some important women (Barbara McClintock and Grace Murray Hopper, for example) who aren't often mentioned in biographies of this type. The oil paint illustrations are whimsical and fun and break up the text, making the amount of information more manageable. This estimable introduction to a variety of scientists will also appeal to fans of irreverent history who aren't quite ready for Georgia Bragg's macabre How They Croaked (Walker, 2011).—Trina Bolfing, Westbank Libraries, Austin, TX
Krull profiles 20 scientists--warning away at the outset anyone interested in the actual details of their discoveries because here, she's all about dishing on their lives and egos instead. Though in other works she focuses on scientific achievements, here Krull caters to readers less interested in Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect than that he had an affair with his cousin or in Newton's laws of physics than his practice, as warden of the Royal Mint, of attending the hangings of convicted counterfeiters. The author presents a series of quick biographical sketches, most capped with "Extra Credit" comments about each subject's enduring legacy--or, in the case of Einstein's brain and Galileo's fingers, errant body parts. Though all but two are dead (and the exceptions, Jane Goodall and James D. Watson, are no spring chickens), her choices for inclusion are reasonably diverse. Ibn Sina, George Washington Carver, and one ancient and one modern scientist of Asian descent expand the Eurocentric roster of usual suspects. Also, six women claim unique or shared entries, and several influential others, such as astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt, earn mentions. Hewitt adds typically funny, bigheaded but recognizable caricature portraits and iconic interior vignettes to lighten the informational load further. Mightily entertaining and if unlikely to broaden a young reader's knowledge of the history of science, certain to humanize it. (reading list, no source notes or index) (Collective biography. 9-12)