By Rachel Swaby, author of Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World (Broadway Books, April 2015)
A programmer examines a computer as massive as a room and finds the first computer bug—a moth stuck in the machine’s relays. A 10-year old is hunting for treasure and discovers a Dinosaur skeleton. Hidden in a pile of data, a woman finds the inner core of the earth, another reveals nuclear fission, and another spots evidence of continental drift in the ocean floor. Who are these incredible scientists? Most of us can’t even name one.
I wrote Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World to help reveal the hidden history of women in STEM fields. The desire to write these stories was three-pronged. First, I was dismayed at the way women in science were being covered. When the New York Times obituary for the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill started with, “She made a mean beef stroganoff,” I was as disappointed as the rest of the internet. I wanted to rewrite Yvonne Brill’s profile and find a way to more appropriately honor the exceptional work of other women in science. (more…)