Women’s Studies


By Nathaniel C. Comfort

Format: print and ebook

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Book Review from American Scientist

Biography from Nobelprize.org
Winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine

Publisher’s Description
Barbara McClintock (1902-1992), a geneticist who integrated classical genetics with microscopic observations of the behavior of chromosomes, was regarded as a genius and as an unorthodox, nearly incomprehensible thinker. In 1946, she discovered mobile genetic elements, which she called “controlling elements.” Thirty-seven years later, she won a Nobel Prize for this work, becoming the third woman to receive an unshared Nobel in science. Since then, McClintock has become an emblem of feminine scientific thinking and the tragedy of narrow-mindedness and bias in science. Learn more…

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Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women

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Edited by Emily Monosson

Format: print

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Science Moms: A Blog to Continue the Discussion

Publisher’s Description
About half of the undergraduate and roughly 40 percent of graduate degree recipients in science and engineering are women. As increasing numbers of these women pursue research careers in science, many who choose to have children discover the unique difficulties of balancing a professional life in these highly competitive (and often male-dominated) fields with the demands of motherhood. Although this issue directly affects the career advancement of women scientists, it is rarely discussed as a professional concern, leaving individuals to face the dilemma on their own. Read more…

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Avenging Agnodice: The Struggles and Successes of Female Scientists, Antiquity to Present

Women in Science: Then and Now

By Anne Sayre

Format: print

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A brief bio from PBS.org

The Rosalind Franklin Papers
From The National Library of Medicine

Publisher’s Description
Rosalind Franklin’s research was central to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. She never received the credit she was due during her lifetime. In this classic work Anne Sayre, a journalist and close friend of Franklin, puts the record straight. Learn more…

By Rebecca Skloot

Format: e-book, downloadable audiobook, and print

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Explore the author’s official website

New York Times Book Review, Eternal Life

An interview with the author in Smithsonian Magazine, Henrietta Lacks’ ‘Immortal’ Cells

Book Description from the Author’s Website
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, this New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.


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