Spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this fascinating history explores the lives and achievements of great women in science across the globe.
Ten Women Who Changed Science and the World tells the stories of trailblazing women who made a historic impact on physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. Included in this volume are famous figures, such as two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, as well as individuals whose names will be new to many, though their breakthroughs were no less remarkable.
These women overcame significant obstacles, discrimination, and personal tragedies in their pursuit of scientific advancement. They persevered in their research, whether creating life-saving drugs or expanding our knowledge of the cosmos. By daring to ask ‘How?’ and ‘Why?’, each of these women made a positive impact on the world we live in today.
In this book, you will learn about:
Henrietta Leavitt (United States, 1868–1921) discovered the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheid variable stars, which enabled us to measure the size of our galaxy and the universe.
Lise Meitner (Austria, 1878–1968) fled Nazi Germany in 1938, taking with her the experimental results which showed that she and Otto Hahn had split the nucleus and discovered nuclear fission.
Chien-Shiung Wu (United States, 1912–1997) demonstrated that the widely accepted ‘law of parity’, which stated that left-spinning and right-spinning subatomic particles would behave identically, was wrong.
Marie Curie (France, 1867–1934) became the only person in history to have won Nobel prizes in two different fields of science.
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (United Kingdom, 1910–1994) won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964 and pioneered the X-ray study of large molecules of biochemical importance.
Virginia Apgar (United States, 1909–1974) invented the Apgar score, used to quickly assess the health of newborn babies.
Gertrude Elion (United States, 1918–1999) won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1988 for her advances in drug development.
Rita Levi-Montalcini (Italy, 1909–2012) won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1986 for her co-discovery in 1954 of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
Elsie Widdowson (United Kingdom, 1906–2000) pioneered the science of nutrition and helped devise the World War II food-rationing program.
Rachel Carson (United States, 1907–1964) forged the environmental movement, most famously with her influential book Silent Spring.
Assembling an assortment of short but impressive profiles, immunologist Whitlock and physicist Evans honor female scientific trailblazers. They balance scientific explanations with personalizing details, revealing that physician Virginia Apgar, who invented the score for testing newborns, always carried a pen knife for emergency tracheotomies, and that Rachel Carson, whose work as a biologist greatly inspired modern environmentalism, wrote her first book "accompanied by her much-loved Persian cats Buzzie and Kito." Per the title, the book shows how its subjects transformed both scientific knowledge (Henrietta Leavitt figured out how to measure the magnitude of stars, neurobiologist Rita Levi-Montalcini discovered nerve growth factor, and Chien-Shiung Wu disproved the law of parity in physics) and the wider world (Gertrude Elion developed successful drugs for cancer, AIDS, transplants, gout, and shingles, and Elsie Widdowson helped create the WWII-era British ration diet). These transformations weren't always for the best; Lise Meitner, who discovered nuclear fission, hated the resultant A-bomb. Throughout, the authors emphasize the centrality of hard work and resilience. Marie Curie, the first female Nobel Prize winner, isolated radium out of "sheer doggedness," while chemist Dorothy Hodgkin discovered insulin's structure despite suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. These minibiographies of women who persisted will move anyone with an avid curiosity about the world.