Friday, November 28, 2008

"Nobel Prize Women in Science..."--worthy book

Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries


Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

ISBN-10: 0806520256
ISBN-13: 978-0806520254

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.

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.

I found used copies as low as $3.13 at amazon. com .

No comments: