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Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries Paperback – September, 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Only nine of the more than 300 Nobel prizes awarded in science since 1901 have been won by women, notes science writer Bertsch as she sets the context for the biographical essays that follow. Examining the careers and lives of 14 women scientists "who either won a Nobel Prize or played a crucial role in a Nobel winning project," she movingly depicts their battles against gender discrimination for recognition and respect and she describes the self-conflict about their roles. Subjects range from Marie Curie (1867-1934) to such contemporaries as Rosalyn Yalow, awarded a Nobel Prize in 1977 for her work as a medical physicist, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell, an astrophysicist credited, at the age of 24, with the 1968 discovery of pulsars, who made large personal sacrifices for her science. Bertsch introduces the small pantheon of women leaders in science whose careers and words offer advice and inspiration, if small comfort, to women in science today. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As the subtitle suggests, this book describes the lives and struggles of 14 women who were either awarded the Nobel Prize or played a critical part in the work of the men who received it. And the "struggles" were horrendous. From the nonadmission policies of most graduate schools, even as late as 1960, to the restrictive admission policies even at the undergraduate level, simply obtaining an adequate education in the sciences was a battle for women. And, with few exceptions, most of them had to take unpaid or lowly paid jobs if they wanted to do science. Tenured positions might be offered after the Nobel Prize was won! Bertsch is a former newspaper reporter, and her background is reflected in her terse, dramatic treatment of each woman. There is an excellent set of references, as well as a thoughtful introduction and conclusion. At the outset, Bertsch asks "Why so few?"--at the conclusion, given the trials and tribulations, one wonders how so many endured. Highly recommended for all science collections.
- Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 451 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Pub Corp (T); Rev Sub edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806520256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806520254
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
The book is a little heavy to read but is very absorbing. Both the science and personal attributes of the women reviewed are documented in a matter-of-fact manner with few distracting adjectives. You can easily read about one or all of the women and cross referencing of events is well done. I found it enthusing whilst doing a PhD in an area of few women. I have no struggle compared to the trials relayed in this book. Not for a light reader.
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Format: Paperback
Remarkable book. The lives and challenges of these women are faithfully described, not only detailing their careers but their personalities as well. These women become more than names mentioned in textbooks, and these accounts of their lives allow them to become inspiring women. The accounts have more science than an average reader would probably like (as a bio major, I loved the detail), but I can guarantee they will find this book interesting all the same. I especially liked the way the author corrected the misconception of Rosalind Franklin as given through Dr. James Watson's account, "The Double Helix."
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Format: Paperback
I was enthralled by this delightful, healing, and eye opening crediting over the wonder works of scientific endeavor made by woman--unsung heroines who did not flinch one bit from their true calling, what for all the drowning out and dumbing down of class ostracism inundating them and their sisters in their times. These Ladies are the truest measure of what is called a benchmark in the progress of humanity to wake up and rise to The Greatest Challenge: to free the mind, the spirit, the yoke of history's circumstance, to unite us in peace, recognition, respect, and unqualified defference to all who carry forth the Light. From my heart, Thank You Sharon Bertsch McGrayne! And for those for whom it is easier to quip, 'a woman's place is in the home, raising children and so forth....' I'll just add, we got BILLIONS of 'em.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of my all-time favorite books. The author digs deep into the lives of these Nobel Prize recipients and helps the reader understand the enormous challenges of these brilliant women. How hard was it? Some women did their research in secret, knowing if they were caught the consequences would be catastrophic--not only for their livelihoods but also their lives.

After one woman was awarded the Nobel Prize, the newspaper headline read, "Wife of [husband's name] Wins Nobel Prize." Her name was not even used!

These stories are well-researched and clearly written. The author knew the adage, "If the story is great, there's no need to embellish." It's empowering, really, to read these stories. A must-read!
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