14. WOMEN IN SCIENCE
For a lighter companion to the two books above, one aimed at younger readers, artist and author Rachel Ignotofsky offers Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World — an illustrated encyclopedia of fifty influential and inspiring women in STEM since long before we acronymized the conquest of curiosity through discovery and invention, ranging from the ancient astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher Hypatia in the fourth century to Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, born in 1977.
True as it may be that being an outsider is an advantage in science and life, modeling furnishes young hearts with the assurance that people who are in some way like them can belong and shine in fields comprised primarily of people drastically unlike them. It is this ethos that Igontofsky embraces by being deliberate in ensuring that the scientists included come from a vast variety of ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, orientations, and cultural traditions.
There are the expected trailblazers who have stood as beacons of possibility for decades, even centuries: Ada Lovelace, who became the world’s first de facto computer programmer; Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and to this day the only person awarded a Nobel in two different sciences; Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who once elicited the exclamation “Miss Bell, you have made the greatest astronomical discovery of the twentieth century!”(and was subsequently excluded from the Nobel she deserved); Maria Sybilla Merian, the 17th-century German naturalist whose studies of butterfly metamorphosis revolutionized entomology and natural history illustration;
and Jane Goodall — another pioneer who turned her childhood dream into reality against tremendous odds and went on to do more for the understanding of nonhuman consciousness than any scientist before or since.