With short, inspiring stories and the accessibility of a graphic novel, Women in Science—50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World (Ten Speed Press) is the perfect book to share with the science- and tech-minded people (male and female, young and old) in your life. Illustrator/designer Rachel Ignotofsky researched, wrote, and illustrated the gorgeous hardcover, out this week. The former Hallmark Greetings designer has had a lifelong passion for science and set out to create a series of vignettes celebrating the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way in the fields of mathematics, engineering, medicine, physics, and more.
Check out this exclusive excerpt of Ignotofsky's illustrations below—and get her quick take on why she picked each woman to include in her book. Then, pick up a copy of Women in Science online here. (And for more cool science-themed products, check out Ignotofsky's Etsy shop.)
1. Edith Clarke
"Edith Clarke grew up with a learning disability but nothing would stop her from obtaining her dream to be an electrical engineer. She was orphaned when she was only 12 and used her inheritance to pay for college. But GE didn’t employ women as engineers–that was 'men’s work.' Like the other women, she worked for GE as a calculator. On the side Edith invented and patented a new graphical calculator to help solve equations involving hyperbolic functions. Eventually, her talents could no longer be denied and she was hired as the first female electrical engineer at GE. She continued to create efficient ways to calculate equations and essentially created the first electrical engineering 'software.'"
"Hypatia is one of the earliest recorded female mathematicians. She was an expert in neoplatonic philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics. She worked on theories about the solar system, and made contributions to geometry and number theory. She was well respected by her many students but her teachings made her a target of religious extremist groups. Despite her tragic death she has become a symbol of education, enlightenment, and feminism."
3. Rosalind Franklin
"Rosalind Franklin was the scientist who was swindled out of her discovery. She discovered the structure of DNA’s double helix when she took the infamous 'photo 51.' Her colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick looked at her work without her permission and published it without giving Rosalind any credit. They went on to win a Nobel Prize for her work. Rosalind left that laboratory’s toxic environment and went onto do critical research on the molecular structures of the tobacco mosaic virus, and polio. Now she's getting the credit she deserves for the groundbreaking discovery of the DNA double helix, along with her many other accomplishments."
4. Sylvia Earle
"She has spent her life exploring the ocean and, like an astronaut on the moon, has set foot where no person has ever been before. Sylvia broke the depth record while wearing the JIM suit and explored the deep ocean’s floor. She also went on to develop new submarine technology. Now, she works hard to protect the ecosystem by creating protected 'hope spots' in the ocean to stop pollution and over-fishing."
5. Patricia Bath
"Patricia Bath knew she would have to work hard to become a doctor. She didn’t know any female doctors when she was growing up, and many of the medical schools at the time were for whites only. After becoming the first African-American to complete a residency in Ophthalmology, she started the first volunteer-based outreach program. She brought eye care to underserved people in Harlem and went onto help create the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness that helps people all over the world. If that wasn’t amazing enough, she also invented the Laserphaco Probe used to treat cataracts. Patricia has given sight to those who were blind for decades!"
Reprinted with permission from Women in Science. Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Ignotofsky. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.