From the derring do of the Air Transport Auxiliary ferrying planes around the UK during the Second World War under incredibly dangerous conditions, to the programming of the first electronic general purpose computer, from the rigorous physical and psychological testing of Mercury astronaut hopefuls to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, More Passion for Science: Journeys into the Unknown shines a light on many untold and overlooked stories.
This second book in the Passion for Science series tells of many perilous and brave journeys in to the unknown, some metaphorical, many real. The writers who popularised science in the 19th century included Isabella Bird Bishop, who travelled the world and became famous for her detailed descriptions of the culture, geography, flora and fauna of the countries she explored. The women of the UK’s Air Transport Auxiliary undertook to fly planes from airbase to airbase, sometimes only having a moment to familiarise themselves with landing procedures once they had got the plane up in to the air and were en route.
Physicist Joan Curran also played a crucial part in the war, inventing a radar-reflecting chaff which could be used to confuse the Luftwaffe, though her personal journey lead her to co-found the Scottish Association of Parents of Handicapped Children, now ENABLE Scotland, and campaign for better support and treatment of disabled people and their families. Then there is Martha Matilda Harper, given into indentured servitude by her father when she was aged just seven, but destined to becomes a great businesswoman, inventing the reclining shampoo chair and developing the hairdressing salon franchise.
We also explore the less well known side of Florence Nightingale, often described as The Lady With The Lamp and rightly credited with the professionalisation of nursing, Nightingale was also a statistician who invented the polar area graph, a type of pie chart, and the line (bar) graph. She was also the first to use such infographics to campaign for change, specifically, much needed public health improvements army hospitals and barracks.
These eloquent stories tell of the women who created history, whose groundbreaking work gave rise to whole areas of industry and research, and whose brilliance was built on a foundation of persistence, tenacity and strength. Their stories should serve as an inspiration to us all, as a guiding light to girls and women and boys and men: No matter the obstacles, we can all excel!
With a foreword by Professor Dame Wendy Hall.
- Queens of the Air – Kate Lord Brown
- Florence Nightingale: The compassionate statistician – Professor Alison Leary
- Delia Derbyshire: Sonic sculptor – Dr Susannah Lydon
- Mary Somerville: The Mechanism of the Heavens – Dr Karen Masters
- Re-engineering the glass ceiling: Civil engineering’s presidential pioneers – Jo Stimpson
- Joan Curran: A window on the war – Angharad Puw Davies
- Go with Gwenda’s! How a garage in Sheffield drove a generation of women on to better things – Liz Kettle
- The Mercury 13 – Helen Keen
- ‘By a lady’: Female botanical illustrators cultivating science – Liesbeth Renders
- Sofia Kovalevskaya: From fictitious marriage to mathematical stardom – Mandip Aujla
- The Mermaids of Plymouth – Jan Freedman & Anne-Flore Laloë
- Emmy Noether: Proving the theorem behind the Higgs boson – Cassandra Lee Yieng
- Elizabeth Bott Spillius: The first social networker – Kathryn Oliver
- Reaching new heights for women and X-ray astronomy – Kimberly Kowal Arcand & Megan Watzke
- Barbara McClintock: Challenging convention at every turn – Dr Ireena Dutta
- Galgebra and Galgorithms – Simon Singh
- The ENIAC Girls: Programmers of the world’s first computer – Lauren Mancuso
- Beate Hermelin: A late bloomer – Rhianna Goozée and Dr Emma Palmer-Cooper
- Martha Matilda Harper: The woman who changed business & beauty care – Jane R Plitt
- Bringing science to life: The women who popularised science in the 19th century – Leila A McNeill
- Sophie Germain: The mathematician who wouldn’t give up – Ariane Coffin
- Mary Anning: Fossil hunter – Becky Chambers
- Emily Warren Roebling: The accidental engineer – Roma Agrawal
“This is a wonderful collection of stories written with charm and eloquence by a wonderful collection of people. There are captivating tales of celebrated characters and intriguing hidden stories from those sidelined from the spotlight. This book goes some way to giving them the credit that they so richly deserve. For me, this book also proves that science is not the sole preserve of the privileged old guard and proudly states that – whoever you are, whatever your background – there is a future for you in science if you want it.”
– Dr Hannah Fry, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London
Contributors and acknowledgements
Foreword by Professor Dame Wendy Hall. Chapters by Roma Agrawal MA MSc CEng MIStructE MIET, Mandip Aujla, Becky Chambers, Ariane Coffin, Angharad Davies, Dr Ireena Dutta, Jan Freedman, Rhianna Goozée, Helen Keen, Liz Kettle, Kimberly Kowal Arcand, Anne-Flore Laloë, Professor Alison Leary FRCN, Kate Lord Brown MA FRSA, Dr Susannah Lydon, Lauren Mancuso, Dr Karen Masters, Leila McNeill, Kathryn Oliver, Dr Emma Palmer-Cooper, Jane Plitt, Liesbeth Renders, Simon Singh, Jo Stimpson, Megan Watzke and Cassandra Lee Yieng.
Edited by Suw Charman-Anderson.
Cover by Edie Freedman.
Thanks also to Joyce Lewis; mentors Veronique Greenwood, Sue Nelson, Jennifer Ouellette, Michael Regnier and Ed Yong; copyeditor Ryan Neal; editorial volunteers Jessica Alexander, Adam Brendenberg, Alane Fitzgerald, Mike Janssen, Renee Symonds and the late Nóirín Plunkett; and finally production assistant Stephanie Davey.
And thanks also to Bloomsbury Publishing for permission to reprint Simon Singh’s chapter, ‘Galgebra and Galgorithms’, an extract from The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets.