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Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries: Second Edition Paperback – April 12, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
Jocelyn Bell's work on pulsars is also described. Bell's advisor would later garner the Nobel for this, though Bell made the crucial observations and deductions from those.
Both these chapters can be exercises in frustration to a reader. Injustices that were never remedied. Though Bell is still alive, and so there is a chance that the Nobel committe might redress this oversight.
McGrayne has delved into primary sources and conducted interviews to understand these women with their strengths and quirks, and she discusses their scientific work in sufficient depth to give the interested reader a real sense of their accomplishments. The result is a book that brings women of science to life--I now feel I know these women as colleagues and friends. Some of my favorite chapters are those on Emmy Noether, Dorothy Hodgkin, Lise Meitner and Barbara McClintock, all strong women and important scientists.
The subjects come to life, and the book is up-lifting. The science is incredibly well explained at a level which is appropriate for non-specialists.
The forward notes the books provides an answer to the question "Why so few?" women Nobelists - and, given their struggles, leads to the question "Why so many?"
The book also offers wonderful examples of the commitment needed and joys received in scientific discovery. I can not recommend this book highly enough!
Please note that "Joseph Henry Press" is the name of a publisher (i.e. a Press- actually that of the National Academy) & not the name of a co-author.
Here is how McGrayne opens her chapter, "Using a private entrance, Lise Meitner entered her basement laboratory_and stayed there. A former carpentry shop, it was the only room in Berlin's chemistry institute that she was permitted to enter. No females_except, of course, cleaning women_were allowed upstairs with the men... "
In this chapter we learn of Meitner's childhood and upbringing, and her struggle to become a woman physicist against all odds. We hear about her attending lectures by Boltzmann and later Planck who became one of her supporters. Meitner's biggest discovery was to explain the mechanism of nuclear fission or perhaps to explain to Hahn and Strassmann that fission was actually taking place since they could not understand why their own bombardment of a uranium nucleus should produce something so much smaller as a barium nucleus. This was because up to that point radioactivity had only produced changes in atomic number of one or two units.
The story of Meitner's having to flee Nazi Germany is interwoven into the scientific story to reinforce this wonderful account.
The reason why Meitner was ignored by the Nobel Prize people is examined as is Hahn's refusal to attribute any significance to her contribution. This is history of science at its best with the science and human story receiving equal attention and just at the right pace.
author of "The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance" and "A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was very interesting and enjoyable reading. Until I happened upon the afterword. Clearly the author is not an academic scientist because she is under the mistaken... Read morePublished 6 months ago by User M
Great book! Any woman in science needs to know that her experiences are not an isolated event. This book is like a table-top mentor that made me feel that I might survive in this... Read morePublished 8 months ago by ScienceDiva
This is a surprisingly excellent book. Well written and well researched.Published 20 months ago by AAJN
Christmas gift to my sons science teacher. Getting one this year againPublished 22 months ago by Carin Andreski
The book had all the info that I wanted in order to host a TV show about women in science. Of course I will reference the author and give credit for any info Ms McGrayne... Read morePublished on May 31, 2014 by Douglas Diggens
This author did her research and put together a great compilation of stories and contributions of several amazing scientists. Read morePublished on February 13, 2013 by Bjorn B.
I bought this as a gift for a friend who graduated with degrees in gender studies and history. She really enjoyed the book and recommends it to anyone interested in the subject.Published on January 16, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Sharon McGrayne is a terrific writer. Unfortunately there haven't been many Nobel prizes given to women, so there are lots of stories that aren't told here. Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by Joy Hakim