In the wake of the disrespectful 2013 New York Times obituary of rocket scientist Yvonne Brill, in which her beef stroganoff took top billing over her scientific achievements, journalist Swaby was inspired to seek out many other women scientists who might have likewise been overlooked or carelessly dismissed. She dug deeply in international archives to find innovators and inventors across the scientific spectrum, and the result is a group of achievers who excelled in fields ranging from physics to biology, astronomy, and engineering. Swaby covers more than 350 years in her survey, and her short biographies give readers just enough information to make them eager for more. Alice Hamilton’s work on poisons in the workplace! Grace Hopper’s manual on computer programming! Hertha Ayrton on arc lighting! These are truly fascinating women with a wide range of experiences both personal and professional, and Swaby’s exuberant portrayals make this a compulsively readable title. There is no good reason why every single woman here is not a household name, and now, thankfully, Swaby is helping rectify history’s oversight.
Recommended for teens (YA)
There’s a dearth of women in STEM fields, and sharing the inspiring stories of these trailblazers with teenagers will be a firm step in rectifying that problem.