Memoirs of Women and Science

This is a category of memoir that I can certainly do to read more about but find more biography than memoir most of the time. I prefer memoir, because I love being able to hear directly from the people whose stories are being told as much as possible. I get that I’ll have to settle for a biography of women from other eras, like Ada Lovelace, but am grateful to women like Jane Goodall for writing of their lives and letting us behind the proverbial curtain.

Most of the women in science that I’ve encountered in my reading have been through anthologies of women doing great things or inventing some of the things we take for granted today. I’m on the lookout for more memoirs, but here are the three I’ve read and loved so far.

Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall – this is a truly beautiful memoir. Goodall writes about her experiences and motivations and inspiration in a style that mesmerized me.

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain and Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young – there are so many crazy things that happen to the brain and I had no idea that there were also so many ways to “fix” it. Not only is it inspirational to think of all the ways we can help people overcome learning disability so far outside of the scope of our school systems, but also all the ways of dealing with trauma.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison – really, how often are we going to get to hear about a mental disorder directly from someone who is both highly educated on it and experiencing it? There’s a whole new understanding of manic depression available here. Jamison also grow up with a family member who suffered from this illness, so the book even covers the impressions of family members.

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