The Major Women in Science series includes short biographies of eight or nine amazing women who often overcame prejudice to excel in a specific scientific field. Targeted specifically to girls, the content in these books serves mainly as introductions to the selected scientists. Research could start here—some of the featured scientists are not well known—but if any depth is required, other sources will need to be consulted. Women In Chemistry, like the other books in this series, starts with a chapter defining the designated branch of science. It includes the biographies of well-known chemists, such as Alice Hamilton, Maud Menten, and Darleane Hoffman. Each chapter includes a brief biography and ends with the definitions of two or three words and suggestions of other resources. Most of these references are websites. The cover illustrations for this series depict lovely, modern women and cryptic symbols. While attractive, the designs do not convey the content of the text. Large font, few illustrations (not every chapter includes a likeness of the subject), and bland information do little to inspire future scientists. Occasionally the text is senselessly simplified. For example, the statement “Alice was home-schooled the first few years of her life” can be found on page fifteen in Women In Chemistry. While Alice Hamilton was, by all accounts, brilliant, it is doubtful she was learning to read and write as an infant. (Major Women in Science) Reviewer: Lynne Farrell Stover; Ages 11 to 14.
- Amy S. Hansen
Part of the “Major Women in Science” series, this book highlights nine women chemists, most of whom worked after the beginning of the twentieth century. All of these women bucked societal trends by getting into laboratories and working away from their homes. They finished advanced degrees but were not allowed to participate in social events at their universities, which were open only to men. Their research was important, but often passed over for male colleagues’ work. Each of these brief, well-written biographies shows a determined scientist who happens to be a woman. Etingoff does not define the women by the difficulties they had to overcome to get into the laboratories and to get their research noticed. Rather, she explains a little bit of their research as well as their life and the obstacles they faced. The series is written with consultants from the Association of Women in Science, whose purpose is to help promising female scientists move forward in a male-dominated field. This book provides biographies for Alice Hamilton, Maud Menten, Gerty Theresa Cori, Hazel Bishop, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, Marie Maynard Daly, Helen Murray Free, Cecile Hoover Edwards, and Darleane Hoffman. Overall, this is an excellent introduction to women who are not often mentioned in history books. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 10 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—A unique look at how women have influenced science, this series focuses on five different fields and the scientists (both current and throughout history) who've helped shape them. The books, broken down into clearly labeled chapters and subject headings, are text-heavy and dense with information, and the format is a bit off-putting. Large information boxes with white font on red backgrounds occasionally break up the texts, which are rather crowded on the pages. "Words to Know" (with the vocabulary words in red throughout the chapters) and "Find Out More" sections are at the end of each chapter. There is some weak writing in places (e.g. "More important, talk to a real scientist!"). Despite these shortcomings, these volumes, in which the final chapters focus on career opportunities for women in the sciences, will encourage girls to embrace STEM.