Forces of Nature : The Women Who Changed Science
by Mcneill, Leila; Reser, Anna

From the ancient world to the present women have been critical to the progress of science, yet their importance is overlooked, their stories lost, distorted, or actively suppressed. Forces of Nature sets the record straight and charts the fascinating history of women&;s discoveries in science.
In the ancient and medieval world, women served as royal physicians and nurses, taught mathematics, studied the stars, and practiced midwifery. As natural philosophers, physicists, anatomists, and botanists, they were central to the great intellectual flourishing of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. More recently women have been crucially involved in the Manhattan Project, pioneering space missions and much more. Despite their record of illustrious achievements, even today very few women win Nobel Prizes in science.
In this thoroughly researched, authoritative work, you will discover how women have navigated a male-dominated scientific culture &; showing themselves to be pioneers and trailblazers, often without any recognition at all. Included in the book are the stories of:

  • Hypatia of Alexandria, one of the earliest recorded female mathematicians
  • Maria Cunitz who corrected errors in Kepler&;s work
  • Emmy Noether who discovered fundamental laws of physics
  • Vera Rubin one of the most influential astronomers of the twentieth century
  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell who helped discover pulsars

Anna Reser is an American historian of science and technology. She holds a PhD in the history of science, technology, and medicine from the University of Oklahoma. She is the co-founder co-editor in chief  of Lady Science magazine, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Real Life,, Technology&;s Stories and more.

Leila McNeill is an American writer, editor, and historian of science. She is an Affiliate Fellow in the History of Science at the University of Oklahoma and the co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Lady Science magazine. She has been a columnist for and BBC Future, and she has been published by The Atlantic, The Baffler, JSTOR Daily, amongst others.

Who is Sarah Bowdich Lee? Mary Mahoney? These are just two trailblazers and pioneers introduced in this marvelous volume, who, regardless of rampant sexism and racism, managed to achieve great scientific discoveries and help foster social change. Starting from antiquity and working up to the present, historians of science Reser and McNeil spotlight the many brilliant women who have been left out of textbooks and academic papers. They begin in ancient China and move on to Europe during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, underlining significant strides made in the areas of astronomy, mathematics, female anatomy, and botany. As their survey reaches the modern age, the authors cover developments in medicine, engineering, physics, the Manhattan Project, and space exploration. As for Sarah Bowdich Lee, she was an opponent of slavery who became the first European women to systemize the flora and fauna of West Africa. In 1879, Mary Mahoney became the first Black woman to earn a professional nursing degree in the U.S. Readers will end up with a whole new list of heroes to contemplate. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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