Women Science Writers

HONORING WOMEN SCIENCE WRITERS FOR WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

I bet you’re wondering why I choose a woman on a white horse as my featured image for a post about women science writers! The women’s suffrage movement paved the way for women to pursue many careers, including writing. And since March is Women’s History Month, I thought a guest post featuring women science writers was in order.

Plus, I love horses!

sue-on-surprise
This is me, riding Surprise. He surprised me moments later when he threw me off!
The Perfect Nap is a Science_Louie_Kev
This is Louie, riding his brother, who is not a horse but I didn't have a horse available.

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD

Pen is mightier than the sword_skull
It used to be dangerous to write one's thoughts. (courtesy The Met)
Pen is mightier than the sword_Make Sense of Science_sword MET
Also dangerous is me trying to align photos side by side!
WHERE DID THE PHRASE 'THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD' ORIGINATE?
From Edward Bulwer-Lytton
More on Bulwer-Lytton here
WHAT DOES THE PHRASE MEAN?
The phrase 'the pen is mightier than the sword' emphasizes that thinking & writing have more influence on people & events than the use of force or violence
Cambridge Dictionary
WE AGREE!
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NONFICTION BOOKS FOR KIDS

So! In honor of women’s science writers, I have included my first guest post on this blog, by Rochelle Melander. Her nonfiction book for kids, Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing, includes women science writers.

I love science, and since I’m a woman science writer, thought this would be a perfect topic. And what better time than during Women’s History Month!

Women's Science Writers_ MightierCover-590
Rochelle's nonfiction book for kids! click for affiliate link)
my book chemical reactions
My nonfiction book for kids! (click for affiliate link)
Easy forensic Science Experiments_2- Louie Magnified
Time for Rochelle to talk...

Coffee break time for me. Take it away, Rochelle….

Coffee break
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LIFE LESSONS FROM WOMEN SCIENCE WRITERS courtesy Rochelle Melander

When I designed my book, I wanted to include writers from as many disciplines as possible. Sure, I know that many kids who want to be writers dream about writing the next epic fantasy or a graphic memoir.

But from my work as a teaching artist, I also knew that most kids don’t dream of being writers. They want to be police officers, baseball players, celebrity chefs, astronauts, and environmentalists. For that reason, I wanted Mightier Than the Sword to tell the stories of mentors from many professions—including scientists.

When I researched the scientists in the book, I learned lessons that I could apply to my own thinking, researching, and writing. One of the biggest lessons I learned was about persisting through obstacles. Every single one of the women and men I researched didn’t just find their “big ideas” and easily share them with the world. They had to persist through multiple challenges to succeed. Here’s what I learned from four of my favorites:

Note from Louie: Click through for the slide shows below! 

USE YOUR PASSION : Wang Zhenyi (1768-1797)

When Wang Zhenyi grew up, women had no legal rights and were forbidden from receiving a formal education. Luckily, she was born into a bookish family. Her father and grandparents taught her medicine, geography, and math, poetry, and astronomy.
Wang Zhenyi, who became a mathematician, astronomer, and poet, developed a passion for creating mathematical and scientific texts that were accessible to readers.
She described a lunar eclipse for readers, who feared the phenomenon was the work of an angry god. But none of it was easy. She wrote, “There were times that I had to put down my pen and sigh. But I love the subject, I do not give up.”
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IMAGINE! Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

Ada Lovelace studied advanced mathematics. Working with her mentor, the mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage, she translated an article he wrote about his plans for the analytical engine, a device that could complete mathematical calculations.
Lovelace added her own thoughts to this article, predicting that someday this kind of a machine would be able to perform many scientific and practical tasks such as composing music and producing graphics.
In her notes, Lovelace wrote an algorithm that could tell a machine what to do. This algorithm is the first example of computer code!
Ada believed that those who could combine science and imagination could soar further into new territories. She wrote this about imagination, “It brings together things, facts, ideas, conceptions, in new, original, endless, ever varying, Combinations.”
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GET HELP : Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

Zora Neale Hurston, a cultural anthropologist who studied at Columbia University, was passionate about telling the stories of the people she grew up around in Eatonville, Florida. Only, the first time she tried to gather their stories, she failed.
With her new clothes and University accent, she didn’t fit in anymore. The next time she tried, she found a local woman to introduce her to the best storytellers.
This woman brought her to parties, where she listened to the locals tell stories and gathered them together in her book, Mules and Men. She wrote, “You take up the pen when you are told and write what is commanded. There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.”
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BE CURIOUS: Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Rachel Carlson was a marine scientist who worked as a writer and editor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington DC. In 1947, she got curious about tests the government was doing with DDT, a chemical that killed insects.
When a friend wrote to tell her that spraying DDT to kill mosquitoes had also killed songbirds, Rachel offered to write an article for Reader’s Digest. They declined. But she did not give up.
She continued to investigate, writing about the problems with DDT in her book Silent Spring, which warned people about how chemicals like DDT were damaging the natural world.
Before her book was released, a chemical company threatened to sue her publisher and the FBI began to investigate her as a communist. But this publicity helped the book become a bestseller.
She wrote, “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
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Rochelle Melander wrote her first book at seven and has published 11 books for adults including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. Her debut book for children Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing won the 2021 Cybils Award for Middle Grade nonfiction. She’s an ADHD coach, an artist-educator, and the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop for young people. She blogs at writenowcoach.com and rochellemelander.com Find her on all social media platforms as @writenowcoach

Rochelle

WOMEN SCIENCE WRITERS

Thank you, Rochelle, for sharing a few fantastic life lessons of great women science writers in your nonfiction book for kids.

 

INSPIRATION & LIFE LESSONS

Which of these life lessons resonate with you?

Women's History Month March 2022
This scientist may be incorporating all four!
women science writers
Now, if only Rochelle could inspire me to get my desk from this....
neat desk
...to this!
Louie is not an angry bird
If you cleaned up, you'd never find anything!

Louie's right! Let's not clean up.

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aami06
aami06
March 1, 2022 7:49 am

My desk is just as messy as yours! Rochelle’s book looks great. Thanks for the inspiration. And for the Louie pics.

chelseakay01
chelseakay01
March 1, 2022 8:09 am

How cool that Ada Lovelace wrote about computer code before it WAS computer code. Thanks for the great post.

Not-So-Modern-Girl
March 1, 2022 8:48 am

This is such a fantastic post! I always look forward to reading women’s history/empowerment posts in this month 🙂 thank you for sharing Susan x

Stephanie
March 1, 2022 9:03 am

It’s so cool to learn more about women in science. What a fun post!

Unwanted Life
March 1, 2022 9:37 am

I’m not one for reading books, but I’ve seen a few documentaries and article on Ada Lovelace. She was brilliant

readandreviewit1
March 1, 2022 1:43 pm

Ooh fab picks here! I love reading posts like these on the buildup to International Women’s Day, and Ada Lovelace sounds fascinating – it’s crazy that she predicted all of that! Thanks for sharing x

Under Flowery Sky
March 1, 2022 2:25 pm

Amazing books full of wise messages, love the ideas..

Eri Tz
March 1, 2022 3:32 pm

I was not aware of all these women in science. Fascinating reading! thank you!

Jaya Avendel
March 1, 2022 3:37 pm

I love that Rochelle knew what she wanted her book’s message to be and that she put as much thought into how she could present that message as diversely as possible! Scientists and mathematicians as writers is not a picture that crossed my mind until now, but I love the way it opens up my definition of writers to include more people. 🙂

S.S. Mitchell
S.S. Mitchell
March 1, 2022 6:32 pm

Zora Neale Hurston is an Absolute literary gem and her book Their Eyes Were Watching God is a classic!

JamieAdStories
March 1, 2022 11:41 pm

Interesting resources to discover more scientists.

Fadima Mooneira
March 2, 2022 7:14 am

Happy Women Month to you. It’s awesome that you’re a science writer. You must be very knowledgeable. Keep up the good work.

isabellevitanyc
March 2, 2022 7:36 am

I hadn’t heard of most of these female science writers before except for Ada Lovelace! Great post.

Allegra Caro
March 2, 2022 7:43 am

I love this post! You gave me some brilliant ideas for buying books to my nieces. Thanks for that!

Amy Laundrie
March 2, 2022 7:43 am

Hi Sue,
I admire Rochelle’s “Mightier than the Sword” too, and am joining you in celebrating March’s “Women in History.” I have a stack of books to read, all written by female authors. I figure that’s a great way to celebrate the month.

Molly | Transatlantic Notes
March 2, 2022 9:12 am

You’ve shared so many great women here; I will have to do some reading up about many of them as I really don’t enough about a number of these achievements!

Mummy Conquering Anxiety
March 2, 2022 3:16 pm

An amazing guest post and love the format, as always. Celebrating the achievements of women is something I’m always up for.

Raji (@journeyintofantasy)
March 2, 2022 4:48 pm

I’ve read a bit about Ada Lovelace before, but it was nice to learn about all these women in science, I’m so curious to know more about them and their achievements! Thanks for sharing this post, it was such an interesting read!

ellegracedeveson
ellegracedeveson
March 3, 2022 2:51 am

Such a great post! I love reading during woman’s history month and learning more. I find it really empowering! Rochelle’s sounds great. Thank you so much for sharing Xo

Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

eileen
March 3, 2022 9:00 pm

I too have had times when I’ve had to ‘put down my pen and sigh’ and found this a very inspiring post! I loved learning about these women and perfectly timed for women’s history month!

Mike
Mike
March 4, 2022 6:50 am

Thanks for recognizing the women who have contributed to the advancement of science. Great job. Mike

Jenny in Neverland
March 18, 2022 4:22 am

I’ll definitely need to do some research into some of these women! What a wonderful and empowering book!

Susan Berk Koch author

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