By: Rachel Swaby
Published: April 7th 2015
Publisher: Broadway Books
Synopsis: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 these 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats. (x)
My Thoughts:I am studying chemistry in university and I LOVE it but there is definitely a lack of female students (there are three of us) at my school. Since so many of the scientists we learn about are male I thought it was high time for me to actively seek out information about female scientists. Which is how I found this book!
There are 52 chapters in this book- covering 52 different female scientists. I know one of the big complaints people have with this book is that each chapter is so short (most are 3-5 pages) and doesn't go very in depth. However I don't think that is the purpose of this book. This book is supposed to introduce you to female scientists- to act as a springboard if you will. Then if you enjoy one of the bios you can go out and seek more information. Like the chapter on Alice Ball? Well know you can go to the library/bookstore to find a more in depth biography on her.
I loved getting to read about the success of my fellow female scientists and in particular I LOVED getting to learn about the things I never knew women had invented (like the cure for leprosy!). It was disheartening to read about the treatment of the female scientist (and honestly how see how little has changed since then)
I was able to impress my biochemistry professor because I knew about Gerti Cori and her discovery of the Cori Cycle- thanks to this book!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the scientific achievements of women. As well there is a version of this book (written for the middle grade age) that is being published in the fall (I will definitely be buying this for my classroom!)