Super women Six scientists who changed the world

Laurie Lawlor

Book - 2017

Profiles six women scientists who persevered in the face of prejudice, including ichthyologist Eugenie Clark and mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jBIOGRAPHY/925/Lawlor Due May 20, 2023
New York : Holiday House [2017]
First edition
Physical Description
57 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 27 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-54) and index.
Main Author
Laurie Lawlor (author)
  • Eugenie Clark
  • Gertrude Elion
  • Katherine Coleman Johnson
  • Marie Tharp
  • Florence Hawley Ellis
  • Eleanor Margaret Burbidge.
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Eugenie Clark (ichthyologist), Marie Tharp (cartographer), Florence Hawley Ellis (anthropologist), Gertrude Elion (pharmacologist), Margaret Burbidge (astrophysicist), and Katherine Coleman Johnson (the mathematician recently popularized by Hidden Figures). What do these women have in common that qualify them as super women? They were trailblazers during the 1930s through 1960s a time when women were not acknowledged as career-oriented and not permitted to work alongside male coworkers. In spite of incessant discrimination and sexism, these women courageously pursued their scientific passions. Imagine being a highly trained astronomer who's forbidden to look through a state-of-the-art telescope, or an accomplished underwater cartographer who's not allowed to sail on research ships, writes Lawlor in the introduction. All because you happen to be a woman. Readers don't need to go far to sample the arresting storytelling. The first page about Clark describes, in breathtaking style, the time when the 59-year-old scientist abruptly decided to hitch a ride on a shark fin. This high-interest approach continues as Lawlor paints powerful portrayals of those who overcame barriers and refused to be labeled as quitters, forcing them to find creative ways to succeed in their careers. The book's design is sparse but punctuated with well-chosen black-and-white primary-source photos. The bravery and high achievements of these six women have been and continue to be an inspiration to young girls with big scientific dreams.--Lock, Anita Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Inspiring profiles of six 20th-century trailblazers.Aside from "Shark Lady" Eugenie Clark and, thanks to attention inspired by recent histories and a film, NASA "computer" Katherine Coleman Johnson, Lawlor's subjects will likely be new to young readers. All were, as the author puts it, struck by "thunderbolts of discrimination" for being women and, in the cases of Clark (whose mother was Japanese) and Johnson (who was African-American), people "of color." Nevertheless, they persevered, made important discoveries in their varied fields, and, eventually at least, earned significant recognition. Photos and direct quotes appear but sparingly in the narratives, but readers will come away with some sense of each groundbreaker's character and private life to go with concise but lucid explanations of her contributions. If some of the obstacles they faced seem ridiculous to contemporary readersin order to use the Mount Wilson Observatory in the mid-1950s, for instance, "quasar hunter" Eleanor Margaret Burbidge had to pose as her husband's assistant and could not use the dining hall or bathroomeven now no one will argue that the playing field has leveled for women in the sciences. A handful of new role models, along with light shed on just who made certain significant advances in astronomy, archaeology, biology, medicine, and plate tectonics. (bibliography) (Collective biography. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.