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Women in Science

By Rachel Ignotofsky
Review by Charlotte (Chemistry)

During my time at sixth form before university, I read Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky. As a chemist myself, I found it inspiring to learn about the stories of historical women whose contributions to their different areas of science are imperative to our understanding of science today. The book showcased women from a range of different areas of science and from many different time periods. It included some well-known women, such as Marie Curie and the computer scientist Ada Lovelace, whilst also introducing me to other equally inspiring scientists.

One fascinating example is Gertrude B Elion, a pharmacologist and biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in 1988 in Physiology or Medicine for her work. In particular, her work on cancer research led to her discovery of two life-saving drugs that treat leukaemia. Furthermore, she continued her work and, in 1978, her research on the difference between healthy and non-healthy cells led to her discovering a way for antiviral drugs to only target viruses and infected cells and leave healthy cells alone. Elion’s dedication to her work is inspiring as she began her research during the Great Depression and struggled to find work at the time. Cancer research and drug development are still key areas of research today and Gertrude Elion’s discoveries have saved many lives. From reading her story in Women in Science, which only gives a brief overview of her achievements, I then researched her further online in greater detail.

I found Women in Science as a book easy to read and understand. It has beautiful illustrations and is easy to comprehend, which I believe made it enjoyable to read and pick up, as heavy textbooks can sometimes be quite daunting. I also found that the illustrations displayed the individuality and uniqueness of each scientist in a way that helps make each story memorable. I appreciated it as I believe every scientist deserves recognition for their work and impact on the understanding we have today in many different areas of STEM. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for an inspiring story, or even for anyone who wishes to learn more about different areas of science that they might wish to study and research in the future.

Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky
ISBN-10: 1526360519
ISBN-13: 9780593377642

Try checking the availability of this book at your school or local library or explore second-hand bookshops and websites. You may also wish to purchase from either Amazon or Blackwell’s.

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