Between the Lines Book Club: Women in Science

between the lines book club logoThis month we’ve been reading Hidden Figures, which is about the African-American female mathematicians who helped win WWII and went on to work for NASA in the early days of the space program. We are living in a golden age of books about women who are or scientists. Here are a few suggestions.

 

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars, by Dava Sobel

 

This book looks at the Harvard Computers, a group of women who did astronomical computations for Harvard Observatory beginning in the 1880’s. They were hired because they could be paid less than men, and they proved to be invaluable mathematicians and observers. Famous astronomers who were Harvard Computers included Henrietta Levitt, Annie Jump Cannon, and Willamina Fleming. My review is here.

 

Harvard Computers group photo

 

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists, by Jeannine Atkins

 

This is a children’s book, but I enjoyed it and found it to be a great starting point when looking for Internet rabbit holes to fall under. This book profiles Maria Sibylla Merian, Anna Botsford Comstock, Frances Hamerstrom, Rachel Carson, Miriam Rothschild, and Jane Goodall. It’s easy to read, inspiring, and interesting, with lovely illustrations. I especially enjoyed the look at women who lived in different time periods, and how their struggles changed or remained the same.

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Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier

The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World, by Shelley Emling

 

Remarkable Creatures is a historical novel about Mary Anning, a Regency-Era Paleontologist. The Fossil Hunter is an excellent biography of Mary Anning. Whether you prefer history or historical fiction, you’ll want to know about this remarkable woman who found fossils in the cliffs of Lyme and who laid the groundwork for the theory of evolution.

Portrait of Mary Anning and her dog

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