Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science- and the World

Today’s post is on Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science- and the World by Rachel Swaby. It is 269 pages long including notes, index, bibliography and is published by Broadway Books. The cover is white with pictures of the women on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in women’s history, scientific history and good writing. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. The stories are told from the third person with first person details added. There Be Spoilers Ahead. 

From the back of the book- 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 New York 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 she 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 theses fifty-two women at their best- while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats.

Review- This is an interesting read about a lot of women that I knew nothing about. Swaby is a good writer taking very big lives, work, and long history and turns into something that you can easily read and understand. She covers women from all walks of science from technology to physics. She gives some insight into their lives but mostly focuses on their professional work. What they did at home, if they had one was, secondary if talked about at all. The writing is very strong without going into repetition. Which is more that I can say for myself, I am at a loss to really describe this book other than it is well written, about an interesting subject, and I learned about interesting people. Read it.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.