Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

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Crown/Archetype, Apr 7, 2015 - Science - 288 pages

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?      

 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - eo206 - LibraryThing

I borrowed this book from the library excited to read about women in STEM fields. It is well written and interesting enough. I was disappointed by the Eurocentric and American centered perspective. I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - msbaba - LibraryThing

This reference work is a biographical anthology of famous (deceased) women scientist. It appears that author’s goal in writing the book was to try and garner interest and curiosity about these woman ... Read full review


Title Page
Rachel Carson 19071964
Nettie Stevens 18611912
Charlotte Auerbach 18991994
Maria Gaetana Agnesi 17181799
Florence Nightingale 18201910
Emmy Noether 18821935
Mary Putnam Jacobi 18421906
Salome Gluecksohn Waelsch 19072007
Grace Murray Hopper 19061992
Yvonne Brill 19242013
Maria Sibylla Merian 16471717
Hedy Lamarr 19142000

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About the author (2015)

Rachel Swaby is a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in the Runner's WorldWiredO, The Oprah Magazine, New Yorker.com, Afar, and others. She is a senior editor at Longshot magazine, the editor-in-chief of The Connective: Issue 1, a former research editor at Wired, and a past presenter at Pop-Up magazine. She lives in Brooklyn.


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