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Dignifying Science Paperback – November 1, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A collection of women-drawn comics profiling women scientists should be a great way to celebrate unknown and underappreciated female professionals and inspire young women to go into the scientific fields. But this collection almost entirely misses the mark, failing to tell clear, interesting stories or to impart much useful information about the remarkable scientists it covers. The fault lies in Ottaviani's writing and organization, not in the skillfully executed black and white illustrations. The profiles--of Lise Meitner, Rosalind Franklin, Barbara McClintock, Marie Skladovska, Hedy Lamarr (yes, the actress) and Birute Galdikas--unfold almost entirely through dialogue. Secondary figures are introduced without historical context or explanation of their relationship to the main character. Even the unusual profile of movie star/inventor Lamarr is bewildering (who exactly is Gene Markey?). Ottaviani provides an appendix with panel by panel notes offering historical and biographical context, but the reader will tire of flipping from comics to notes and back again. Both the narrative and notes jump into scientific terminology without sufficient plainspoken explanations. The book leaves one longing for what it originally promised: biographical sketches of significant women's scientific accomplishments in comics form, presented in a manner that the dame on the street can understand. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


A fine work and contribution to the body of good and mature comics...bravo. -- Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit

Entertaining and inspirational...a home schooler's dream. If you know any girls with the slightest aptitude in math or sciences, can change their lives by buying them this. -- Retailer Reviews, The Comics Buyer's Guide

I felt a little self-conscious paging through a comic book while waiting at the bar of an upscale Manhattan restaurant. My taste in books usually runs toward the ones without pictures. But Dignifying Science quickly won me over. -- Jean Kumagai, Physics Today

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: G.T. Labs; Graphic No edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966010612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966010619
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,996,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Ottaviani has worked in news agencies and golf courses in the Chicago area, nuclear reactors in the U.S. and Japan, and libraries in Michigan. He still works as a librarian by day, but stays up late writing comics about scientists. When he's not doing these things, he's spraining his ankles and flattening his feet by running on trails. Or he's reading. He reads a lot. Elsewhere on the web you can find him at www.gt-labs.com .

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ottaviani's DIGNIFYING SCIENCE is a well illustrated and well written work. It does what a lot of good nonfiction has done recently - it focuses on those often forgotten people and events that were important and influential on the better known ideas and forces that shape our world today. In this instance, Ottaviani has centered his attention on women scientists, inventors and researchers who discovered, researched, and supported major scientific achievements in the last century. He and the women artists who illustrate the book do a superb job of introducing us to the contributions of these people who we never knew or knew little, but to whom we owe a collective, and enormous, debt.
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Format: Paperback
A single writer partnered with 12 different artists in stories about 6 different women scientists. Some stories obviously succeed better than others.
For young people who like graphic novels and have some interest in science, I recommend it highly. But as a women's history buff and a comic book fan I find it a little disappointing. The comic format is ideal for high drama stories but is not always used at it's full potential here.
For example, in the life of Barbara McClintock, two pages cover the time period from 1951 to 1983. They show her lecturing to men in business suits with their hands over their ears. The crowd thins out in the 60's and then begins to swell with more casually dressed people, both male and female, who don't have their hands over their ears. Then she gets the Nobel prize. The faces in the crowds are consistently expressionless. I think this misses the real drama of McClintock's life. She was so brilliant that her theory was not understood when she first presented it. She chose to continue her research even when it was not reaching a receptive audience and because she documented it for decades, when other researchers later repeated her experiments and discovered her documentation, she received the recognition she deserved.
This was seldom the case with earlier women scientists, for example, Rosalind Franklin. Franklin's fascinating story, unfortunately, is difficult to follow through time and four different artists' styles.
And, in an interesting bit of reverse sexism, Birute Galdikas' story is told without once mentioning (or picturing) her first husband who worked beside her daily for 20 years.
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