Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-- and the World

Headstrong is a collection of fifty-two short biographies of women scientists who are lesser known, but made significant contributions to science. We learn who these women were, their contribution to science, and how they got to the point where they made their contribution. The focus is on what they are best known for, as it is just a brief overview of each woman. The book only includes women whose life's work has been completed as a way to narrow the focus of the book.

As soon as I read the title of this book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. After reading the introduction, I was hooked. I love the idea that women in science should be judged on their work and not on their gender. I also liked the idea that we should be able to recall a woman scientist besides Marie Curie(not to diminish her achievements). The women included in this book are divided into the categories: Medicine, Biology and Environment, Genetics and Development, Physics, Earth and Stars, Math and Technology, and Invention. I liked that they were divided by field as it helped the flow of the book and with the author's thought that "instead of saying the Marie Curie of her field, say  a woman of that field who made a great contribution." I liked the set up of the book.

I think this is an important book for every one to read. Not only does it make us more aware of the significant contributions women have made in science, but it can provide roll models(particularly for women) in science. I was surprised by how many of these women I had never heard of. When I read the biography of Emilie Du Chatelet who lived 1706-1749 and whose contribution was in physics I was impressed with her work, but could not help but feel sad. Some of her peers cared more about her gender than the quality of her work. Emilie Du Chatelet provides a great example by not letting criticisms, more about her gender than her work stand. "She addressed each criticism while displaying her mastery over the subject." It reminded me of some of the recent twitter campaigns #DistractinglySexy #GirlsWithToys #ILookLikeAnEngineer to raise awareness of women in science,  and how they are treated. I admire both Du Chatelet and the women who participated in these twitter campaigns for standing up for themselves, but was a little disheartened that this is still an issue 300 years after Du Chatelet had to defend herself in a similar way. Perhaps this book and others like it can help with this issue.

I highly recommend reading this book. It provided a lot of interesting information in an easy to grasp way. I only wish there was more about some of the women. I would get very interested in someone, and their story would be over. It gave me some women I want to read more about. I read this book as an ebook on my Nook, and had no difficulties with it.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review**

*Receiving a free copy of the book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book that I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.

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