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Women in Chemistry: Their Changing Roles from Alchemical Times to the Mid-Twentieth Century (History of Modern Chemical Sciences) Paperback – June 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0941901277 ISBN-10: 0941901270 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: History of Modern Chemical Sciences
  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Chemical Heritage Foundation; 1 edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941901270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941901277
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Though rarely noted, women have been active participants in the chemical sciences since the beginning of recorded history. This thought-provoking book brings to life the many talented women who--besides the universally respected Marie Curie--made significant contributions to chemistry. The Rayner-Canhams examine the forces that have defined women's roles in the progress of chemistry, observing that many were thwarted from capitalizing on their achievements by the prejudices of their time. Their book discusses women chemists from as far past as the Babylonian civilization but focuses on professional women chemists from the mid-19th century, when women gained access to higher education.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laura M Otto on May 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Marelene and Geoffrey Reyner-Canham's "Women in Chemistry" draws the reader in like a good collection of interwoven short stories, with compelling protagonists who persevere and excel in the face of obstacles that seem --and sometimes are--insurmountable. But of course, the "stories" are true biographies, and the authors' warm style and candid sympathy for their subjects are balanced by meticulous documentation of source material and an attention to historical accuracy and detail that lets the women's personalities shine through in their own deeds and words.
The book's greatest strength may be the personal and intellectual strengh of the more than 50 women chemists whose lives it portrays, but it is much more than a collection of biographies. Fascinating sections at the beginning and end of each chapter provide historical context, show how the women's lives were linked, and elaborate on factors that affected the success of women chemists in the historical period or chemical field treated by the chapter.
While supporting readers at many points with an concise background in the historical development of alchemical and chemical thought, the authors never take a condescending tone, and bring enough fresh aspects and details to their discussion (the Chinese women alchemists, the "informal university" provided to upper-class women by the salons of pre-revolutionary France, the birth of popular science writing in the 18th and 19th century as women sought to make science accessible to other women...) to firmly hold the interests of more knowledgable readers as well.
Unfortunately, the book doesn't get the careful editing, professional layout, and quality binding that it deserves--so five stars for content, four overall.
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