Guest Blog from Liza Miller, Editor at Wren & Rook
When I came across Rachel Ignotofksy’s Women in Science, I knew it was a book that British readers deserved to have on their bookshelves. Women still only make up 21% of the STEM workforce in the UK, and even though the number of STEM jobs overall is increasing, the proportion of women in the workforce is beginning to fall. Today, women represent only 8% of engineers. My publishing imprint, Wren & Rook, wants to do all it can to encourage young girls and women to become change-makers – and Rachel Ignotofsky’s inspiring words and illustrations are just the way to do it. In fact, we felt her book was so desperately needed that we acquired, edited, printed and published it within six months. Phew!
Working with Rachel has been incredible – her art has a knack for making dense information really accessible, and she’s passionate about encouraging the next generation of female astronomers, doctors, biologists and beyond. Women in Science pays tribute to fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Katherine’s story was recently brought to the big screen by the blockbuster hit Hidden Figures, which was fantastic to see – but there are so many other phenomenal women who deserve to have their work known more widely too.
Did you know:
• Early mathematician and astronomer Hypatia was killed by extremist Christians when her science challenged the status quo
• British palaeontologist Mary Anning was the first person to prove that animals could go extinct
• Mary Agnes Chase was not only a groundbreaking botanist – she was jailed and force-fed when she went on hunger strike to protest for women’s suffrage
• Zoologist Joan Beauchamp Procter kept a Komodo dragon as a pet, which she kept on a leash while working at London Zoo
• Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin made a major breakthrough in astrophysics in 1925 – but it was 31 years before Harvard made her a professor
We’re so grateful to Rachel that, thanks to her, the stories of these amazing women and many more are being celebrated. So, this British Science Week, pick up a copy of Women in Science, get inspired, and start dreaming of the difference that you could make to the world one day.