Recent science memoirs by women, or documentaries about women scientists
April 16, 2018 12:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for memoirs or books about their working lives by contemporary women scientists, specifically ones who work in laboratories. This is for a 13-year-old who is interested in science careers. Looking for stuff published in the last ten years. We have read Hope Jahren's Lab Girl. Articles or online documentary programmes would also work, as would recommendations of women scientists who are on Instagram (not other social media). Thanks.
posted by paduasoy to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
So a lot of the #stemwomen I interact with on Instagram are field scientists or have significant field components, but also do some labwork as well. I'll strongly recommend Imogene Cancellare - she studies snow leopard genetics. I'd also recommend Sophia Talks Science, who is a lab-based grad student. You might find people to follow on #scientistswhoselfie, #stemgirls, #stemwomen, #wearestemsquad, and @thestemsquad.

This was neither published in the last 10 years nor is it about a lab scientist, but In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall is the book that got me to grow up to become a scientist after reading it at age 12. The graphic novel Primates is a lovely look at the lives of Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas, and Dian Fossey and she may enjoy that as well.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:18 PM on April 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Salmon: A Scientific Memoir, by Jude Isabella, 2014, about her work studing ecosystems on the BC coast. I haven't read it.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:32 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fun with Chem is an aptly named Instagram account! I have worked directly with this professor out of UT Austin and she is a delight. She posts a lot of chemistry demos, often with very gratifying explosions and she is SO thrilled with it all.

I wish I had some books for you, too!
posted by chatongriffes at 1:43 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

We saw the Fun with Chem presenter last weekend, she is very engaging.

NOVA via PBS, has great female scientists featured in its current shows, so while it’s not exclusively women scientists, they are well-represented and are not a garnish.

For recent books:

Ingrid Visser’s Swimming with the Orca
Juliet Eilperin’s Devil Fish (shark)
Meredith Hooper’s The Ferocious Summer

There is an engaging Physics book or two by a brilliant female scientist, but In this group, someone will name her. Not sure it’s written for high schoolers, but if math is her strength, there is more than Feynman.
posted by childofTethys at 2:20 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I haven't written my memoirs and I don't have an Instagram account, but I am a lab scientist. (and a woman) . I'm currently between jobs dealing with some minor medical crap, so memail me if you want to hear my life story.:)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 2:35 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna is a very current account of the development of the gene editing technology CRISPR.
posted by sammyo at 4:06 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Recommendations from Bustle: 'Spineless' by Juli Berwald; 'In the Shadow of Man' by Jane Goodall; 'Find Where The Wind Goes: Moments From My Life' by Dr. Mae Jemison.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:11 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ooh one of my favourite podcasts! The Life Scientific is a BBC Radio 4 program so pretty much the whole archive can be added through iTunes or a podcast app and close to half of the working scientists interviewed are women. The interviewer is delightful, enthusiastic and prepared, and the scientists talk about their subject and their fields but also half is on why they became a scientist, their educational path and what they do at work. So recommended, each is about 30 min and the website often links to further reading.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:15 PM on April 16, 2018

Lynn Margulis. Her endosymbiotic theory changed the shape of evolutionary biology, and is still not well known among the general pubic.

Did you know that chloroplasts in plants came about via one life form absorbing another? Or that many people believe that the nucleus of the eukaryotic cell and the mitochondria resulted from similar processes?

She died in 2011 so is both relatively recent in terms of memoir and also clearly established as a hugely important figure in her field.

This book of memoirs edited by her son Dorion Sagan looks good. (yes she was married to A guy named Carl Sagan at one time)
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:48 PM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

It doesn't fit your specific criteria but 'Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story' was a documentary I really enjoyed about a woman whose scientific inventiveness was sadly dismissed and who probably would have been so much happier working in a lab.
posted by Lilypod at 1:51 AM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, this is great. Green Eyed Monster, will MeMail.
posted by paduasoy at 10:27 AM on April 17, 2018

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