Lawlor, Laurie. Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World. Holiday, 2017. 48 p. Holiday, 2017. hardcover, $16.95. (9780823436750). 509.2/52.
Katherine Coleman Johnson who is one of the six scientists profiled here was also one of the subjects of the 2017 20th Century Fox movie Hidden Figures (trailer from 20th Century Fox) which also featured Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson -- all African American women who were instrumental in John Glenn's walk in space. Johnson was a scientist extraordinaire. Her accomplishments at NASA was only one of the contributions being made by women in the science field. This book tells us of five more who changed the world -- and were pretty much hidden from history until now. Lawlor's book gives us a first glimpse of six scientists who did change the world.
An Important entry into the lexicon of books that focus on the contributions of women.
Eugenie Clark (ichthyologist), Marie Tharp (cartographer), Florence Hawley Ellis (anthropologist), Gertrude Elion (pharmacologist), Margaret Burbidge (astrophysicist), and Katherine Coleman Johnson (the mathematician recently popularized by Hidden Figures). What do these women have in common that qualify them as Super Women? They were trailblazers during the 1930s through 1960s—a time when women were not acknowledged as career-oriented and not permitted to work alongside male coworkers. In spite of incessant discrimination and sexism, these women courageously pursued their scientific passions. ... Lawlor paints powerful portrayals of those who overcame barriers and refused to be labeled as quitters, forcing them to find creative ways to succeed in their careers. ~ Booklist
"Inspiring profiles of six 20th-century trailblazers. Aside from "Shark Lady" Eugenie Clark and, thanks to attention inspired by recent histories and a film, NASA "computer" Katherine Coleman Johnson, Lawlor's subjects will likely be new to young readers. All were, as the author puts it, struck by "thunderbolts of discrimination" for being women and, in the cases of Clark (whose mother was Japanese) and Johnson (who was African-American), people "of color." Nevertheless, they persevered, made important discoveries in their varied fields, and, eventually at least, earned significant recognition. Photos and direct quotes appear but sparingly in the narratives, but readers will come away with some sense of each groundbreaker's character and private life to go with concise but lucid explanations of her contributions. If some of the obstacles they faced seem ridiculous to contemporary readers—in order to use the Mount Wilson Observatory in the mid-1950s, for instance, "quasar hunter" Eleanor Margaret Burbidge had to pose as her husband's assistant and could not use the dining hall or bathroom—even now no one will argue that the playing field has leveled for women in the sciences. A handful of new role models, along with light shed on just who made certain significant advances in astronomy, archaeology, biology, medicine, and plate tectonics. (bibliography) (Collective biography. 11-15)" ~ Kirkus Reviews