This volume features substantive biographical essays on 97 world and American women scientists who have made significant contributions to the life sciences from antiquity to the present, with the emphasis on 20th century women. The essays go beyond the basic facts found in standard biographical dictionaries, however. Developmental influences, obstacles faced and overcome, and the efforts of these women to contribute to their chosen professions in spite of sometimes overwhelming disapproval of the establishment come alive in these portraits. Many of the living scientists profiled contributed interviews and autobiographical statements, which adds a vital and unique element to their profiles. Entries, written by 63 practicing scientists and researchers, explain the scientific work clearly in terms familiar to general readers and high school students.
Each entry provides a fact box outlining major life events, including educational and career milestones, and concludes with sources for further reading. Twenty-nine photographs complement the text. Disciplines covered include anatomy, bacteriology, biology, botany, embryology, entomology, genetics, horticulture, medicine, ornithology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, and zoology. Subjects were selected on the basis of historical importance and recognition awards such as Blackwell, Lasker and Watermann prizes, Nobel prizes, MacArthur Foundation Genius awards, and the National Medal of Science. Seen across time and disciplines, the lives of these dedicated scientists can serve as role models for young women pursuing careers in science.