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This week for Meet A Scientist Monday let's take a look at a book that introduces us to ten women scientists.

Super Women in Science by Kelly Di Domenico contains the biographies of women scientists who made outstanding contributions to their fields of study. Starting with the tragic story of Hypatia, born in the year 355, through the first African-American woman in space, Mae Jemison, this book briefly summarizes the lives of women in the light of the times in which they lived. Each chapter summarizes the life of a single woman, listed in chronological order.super-women-in-science

Some of the women, like Rachel Carson, are household names. In other cases the author has chosen a less well-known scientist. For example, instead of a biography of primatologist Jane Goodall, Di Domenico introduces us to Birute Galdikas, a woman who studies orangutans in a similar ground-breaking way that Goodall studies chimpanzees. It is fun to learn about someone new.

Most of the women had to struggle against bias to continue working in science. For example, Maria Goeppert-Mayer won the Nobel Prize in 1963 for physics, but had to work as a volunteer because no university would hire her early in her career. Hearing the same setbacks due to gender bias again and again is a bit disheartening, but it does reflect the realities of the times.

Part of the high-quality Women's Hall of Fame Series, this particular volume does have a few minor flaws. For example, in the second chapter on fossil-hunter Mary Anning, some of the scientific names are not properly capitalized. The list of sources in the back, however, are extremely helpful for children who get excited about the life of one of these women and want to find out more.

Super Women in Science is likely to be inspiring not only children interested in science, but also those interested in history. Although listed as a middle grade book, I think older children will also find it useful.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: Second Story Press (January 1, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1896764665
ISBN-13: 978-1896764665


This post was prepared for Nonfiction Monday, a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. (I usually participate in this carnival at my Wrapped in Foil blog.) For more information, stop by Anastasia Suen's Nonfiction Monday page. This week's carnival is at Bookish Blather.

Thanks to the publisher for providing this older book for review.

This week I'm going to do something a bit different for Meet a Scientist Monday.  I got an e-mail from Laura Willcox, Associate Producer for NOVA/PBS' webseries "The Secret Life of Scientists." She says:

"Our series, and it's accompanying blog, is committed to making scientists and their careers as well known as celebrities are in our culture. Like you, we aim to inspire and entertain by featuring some of today's most dynamic living scientists and science stories. Check out our series here:

...We are currently in the running to win a Webby Award (think the Emmys but for web content!) in the prestigious category of 'Best Documentary Series.' We are neck and neck with the reknown (sic) filmmaker David Lynch. We know winning this Webby would mean our series could reach scores and scores of aspiring scientists

We ask that you help us reach this goal by sharing the following link on your blog that will allow science fans to vote for our series:"

Now it is up to you. Take a look at the series. If you like it, consider helping them get publicity by voting. If you follow the link, it will ask you to register. Once you register, an e-mail will be sent to the address you provide. As a heads up, the link provided in the e-mail will take you to the Webby home page. To get back to the voting page, click on "OnLine Film and Video" in the tabs at the top, and then when all the options come up, look for "Documentary:  Series."

I didn't find a exact deadline for voting, but it looks the the awards are given out in the first part of June.

Scientists as celebrities? What do you think?

You have probably heard the term "ecology" thrown around a lot, but do you know what an ecologist does? An ecologist studies whole organisms (that is, rather than what goes on inside an organism), and their environment. Typically an ecologist spends a lot of time out of doors.

Do you think you might want to study ecology? Take a look at this well-written page about HOW DO YOU BECOME AN ECOLOGIST? by Whit Gibbons at the University of Georgia.

You might want to visit the Ecological Society of America website for more career profiles, and more about ecology as a career, as well.


Do you know someone who wants to become an ecologist?