The STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—impact every aspect of our increasingly digitized lives in this time of environmental challenges,
making education in the STEM realm highly desirable. And
it is imperative that women participate. The books below
tell the compelling stories of women pioneers in these ever-evolving fields, offering fresh perspectives on the history of
science as well as forward-looking inspiration and guidance.
Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s
Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the
Digital Age. By James Essinger. 2014.
Melville, $25.95 (9781612194080).
Mathematician and computer pioneer
Ada Lovelace (1815–52), working with
inventor Charles Babbage, wrote the first
computer program, an astonishing innovation Essinger places within the story of
her altogether remarkable life.
Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and
the Secrets of Metamorphosis. By Kim
Todd. 2007. HMH/Mariner, $15.95
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717)
devoted herself to investigating the
process of metamorphosis, braving systemic misogyny to study insect life, create
invaluable scientific illustrations, and conduct pioneering fieldwork.
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies
of the Harvard Observatory Took the
Measure of the Stars. By Dava Sobel.
2016. Viking, $30 (9780670016952).
Sobel’s luminous history introduces the
heretofore-unheralded mid-nineteenth-century women who studied glass
photographic plates of the stars at the
Harvard Observatory and made profound discoveries that set the course for
Grace Hopper and the Invention of
the Information Age. By Kurt W. Beyer.
2009. MIT, $27.95 (9780262517263).
The first woman to earn a PhD in
mathematics at Yale, Grace Hopper enlisted in the navy immediately after Pearl
Harbor and was assigned to the Harvard
Computational Laboratory, where she
spearheaded the formulation of a com-
Breaking glass ceilings with
science and math.
BY DONNA SEAMAN