Friday, April 15, 2016

Currently Reading (4)

 When I began my brief career as a university lecturer, there were slightly more women than men amongst the life science students. Yet the majority of postgraduates working towards their Ph.Ds were men, and of the seven lecturers in the School of Plant Sciences where I worked, only one was a woman. Hope Jahren's memoir Lab Girl is, amongst other things, a clear-sighted polemic, based her own personal experiences, about that imbalance, and the barriers and prejudices women scientists must overcome. She describes her rural Minnesotan childhood and her early interest in science, how she learned to perform lab work, and her struggle to establish a research career and her own laboratory, aided and abetted by her partner in research, Bill, whose passions and eccentricities match her own. Punctuated by lovely little essays on the life of plants, those strange machines that from sunlight, water and air create the energy that fuels life on Earth, it's a terrific exploration of the culture and practice of science, and a fierce, candid and funny account of a scientist's life.


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