Fifty-two inspiring and insightful profiles of history’s brightest female scientists.
In 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the questions the obituary—and consequent outcry—prompted were, Who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their true light?
Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats.
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About the Author
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Mary Putnam Jacobi
Excerpted from "Headstrong"
Copyright © 2015 Rachel Swaby.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906) 3
Anna Wessels Williams (1863-1954) 7
Alice Ball (1892-1916) 11
Gerry Radnitz Cori (1896-1957) 14
Helen Taussig (1898-1986) 19
Elsie Widdowson (1906-2000) 23
Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) 27
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) 32
Gertrude Belle Elion (1918-1999) 36
Jane Wright (1919-2013) 41
Biology and the Environment
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) 47
Jeanne Villepreux-Power (1794-1871) 51
Mary Anning (1799-1847) 54
Ellen Swallow Richards. (1842-1911) 57
Alice Hamilton (1869-1970) 61
Alice Evans (1881-1975) 67
Tilly Edinger (1897-1967) 70
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) 75
Ruth Patrick (1907-2013) 80
Genetics and Development
Nettie Stevens (1861-1912) 85
Hilde Mangold (1898-1924) 88
Charlotte Auerbach (1899-1994) 91
Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) 95
Salome Gluecksohn Waeisch (1907-2007) 100
Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012) 104
Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) 108
Anne McLaren (1927-2007) 113
Lynn Margulis (1938-2011) 116
Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) 121
Lise Meitner (1878-1968) 125
Irene Joliot-Curie (1897-1956) 130
Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) 135
Marguerite Perey (1909-1975) 139
Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) 143
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921-2011) 147
Earth and Stars
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) 155
Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) 158
Inge Lehmann (1888-1993) 161
Marie Tharp (1920-2006) 165
Yvonne Brill (1924-2013) 169
Sally Ride (1951-2012) 173
Math and Technology
Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799) 179
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) 182
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) 186
Sophie Kowalevski (1850-1891) 189
Emmy Noether (1882-1935) 194
Mary Cartwright (1900-1998) 199
Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) 203
Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) 209
Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) 213
Ruth Benerito (1916-2013) 219
Stephanie Kwolek (1923-2014) 222
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I only wish this book had been available 20 years ago when my daughter was in middle school. She DID become a microbiologist, but it would have been easier on all of us if we would have had access to such a beautifully written book on women scientists back then! This book is a must read for all those males who think they "know what's best for women" (like some of our Congressmen)!
I'm going to be straight forward. I LOVE this book. I am all for female power. This book is kick ass. Completely empowering and fantastic. It makes you question history and want to conquer the world. It was only the first page where I died laughing: "There have been instances, and I have been such, of females... graduated from school or college excellent scholars, but with underdeveloped ovaries. Later they are married, and were sterile." BAHAHA. I can't even. description "The system never does two tings well at the same time. The muscles [menstruation] and the brain cannot functionate in their best way at the same moment."All I could think of was this: description I think every woman should read this book. Realize your own strength. You don't have to live in a mans shadow. You don't have to have children. You don't have to get married. You are your own self. You can achieve your dreams. Break the stereotype and "expectations" of what the world wants from you. If you like this book then I recommend The Guerrilla Girl's Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art. I love art history and women fighting for recognition. So this is the best of both worlds. I received this book from Blogging for Book for an honest review
I rarely write reviews but I loved this book so much that I just had to do so! I've also just purchased it for my sister-in-law and am planning to send it to my nieces AND my nephews! It's a well-written and engaging book. I think anyone from middle school and up would enjoy it. I knew some of the scientists described but many were new to me. I learned that one of the first people to understand the need to tailor a drug to a specific patient was Jane Wright, an African-American doctor in the 1950s. And who knew that Hedy Lamarr (yes, the actress) was an inventor? This book fills a gap in the history of science as well as in women’s history. Personally, I found these stories inspiring.