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Wonder Women of Science: How 12 Geniuses Are Rocking Science, Technology,…

por Tiera Fletcher

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I enjoyed reading this collection of twelve mini-biographies of female scientists currently working in a wide range of fields. Several were particularly memorable. The veterinary neurosurgeon who had time to earn a Masters degree while repeatedly applying to veterinary school -- and upon graduation, failed her boards twice because she aced the essay questions but couldn't handle the multiple choice section (probably a sign of outside-the-box creativity or knowing too much about exceptional situations) -- was an object lesson in perseverance. The wildlife researcher who studies tapirs was fascinating because... tapirs. The NASA microbiologist had a lot to teach us about microfilms (so that's why the tubes in the whirlpool tub are gross) and space physiology (the mechanism for bone loss astronauts experience in zero gravity is increased calcium in the urine, which really messes up the plumbing)! The spacesuit designer was just very, very cool.

The author could have been included in the book on her own merits, but chose to put her first-person biography in the introduction. The fact that it was the preface was easy to miss, since the format was exactly like every other biography in the book, and the first couple of pages left me wondering why is this first person, this is weird. Then I reread the first page carefully and above the "FACT FILE" that starts each biography, above the name, at the top of the page in small print, "preface". I think if you want to write a preface, perhaps straight-out introducing some of what the book will contain, rather than trying to incorporate it in an autobiography, would be less confusing.

The book contains a glossary, an excellent index, and a list of books for further reading. What my ARC (Advance Reading Copy) does not contain is a definition of the acronym STEM, which it constantly uses (almost 20 references in the index; no entry in the glossary). The first time of use is page 5 in that autobiographical preface. It should have been defined at that point. I thought, maybe every preteen girl in 2021 knows this, so I asked my 11 year old granddaughter. "I've heard the term, Mrs Blair told us about it, but I forgot. Something about science?" Not bad, but they really needed to define it. I think she'll enjoy reading this book, but before giving it to her I wrote on the title page:

STEM
Science
Technology
Engineering
Mathematics

I better have got that right. If not, they really needed to put it in the glossary! With any luck, the editors will pick up the omission in time to fix it in the first edition. ( )
  muumi | Feb 27, 2021 |
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