Posts Tagged women in STEM

BOOK LIST FOR A BLACK HOLE

Black Hole Photo History

It’s been an exciting week for space enthusiasts, space fiction fans, rocket scientists, and computer scientists. For the first time ever, we have an idea of what the elusive, oft-written-about black hole looks like.

Beautiful, right? Incredible even. What’s amazing to me is that we took pictures of light in a place where light gets sucked in but never spit out again. I always imagined that we could never see anything once that big vacuum cleaner in the cosmos had swallowed it, not even if we built the world’s strongest computer with the most sophisticated brain.

Fortunately for all of us, I’m not an astrophysicist or a computer scientist. Even more fortunately for all of us, Dr. Katie Bouman is. Bouman is a computer scientist who was part of a team that created a set of algorithms that took the “sparse and noisy data” collected from telescopes and turned them into an image. According to TIME magazine, Bouman says what really makes her tick is “coming up with ways to see or measure things that are invisible.”

The MIT postdoctoral fellow shared this photo of herself “watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed.”

Encouraging More Women in Space and Science

What’s great about Dr. Bouman’s story is that in addition to raising the profile of all the brilliant women researchers in #STEM, we get a chance to talk again about books that focus on women in STEM, computer science, black holes, and the study of space. (And we get to say Event Horizon Telescope a lot, which is just plain fun.)

Unfortunately, the numbers on women researchers in STEM fields are still dismal, hovering somewhere around 30% by many estimates. Clearly, we’ve got a lot of work to do encouraging and supporting women in these fields–and it begins with our middle-grade readers.

Book List for a Black Hole Moment

Here’s a handful of books to help stir our girls’ imaginations and spur them to become the next Dr. Katie Bouman.

NON FICTION

A Black Hole is not a Hole, by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

If a black hole is not a hole, then what is it? Find out what black holes are, what causes them, and how scientists first discovered them. Learn how astronomers find black holes, get to know our nearest black-hole neighbor, and take a journey that will literally s-t-r-e-t-c-h the mind.

 

Exoplanets, by Karen Latchana Kenney (Twenty-First Century Books TM)

Until the mid-1990s, scientists only guessed that the universe held exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system. But using advanced physics and powerful telescopes, scientists have since identified more than three thousand exoplanets. This work has revealed fascinating worlds, including a planet that oozes lavalike fluids and a planet that glows bright pink.

Even more fascinating, scientists think that some exoplanets might contain life. Many orbit in the Goldilocks zone, the region around a star that’s not too hot or too cold for liquid water, a key ingredient for life. This book examines exoplanets, the possibilities for life beyond Earth, and the cutting-edge technologies scientists use to learn about distant worlds.

This book features astrophysicist Sara Seager.

 

Astronaut/Aquanaut, by Jennifer Swanson (National Geographic)

Margaret on the Moon, by Dean Robbins and Illustrated by Lucy Knisely (Knopf)A true story from one of the Women of NASA!

Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world.

Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.

Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deliver a lovely portrayal of a pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.

FICTION:

 

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux/Square FIsh)

Not a new entry, not even from this century, but I couldn’t resist reminding everyone that an early and definitive female character in a book about space was Meg Murray.

A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe. They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem — a wrinkle in time.

A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.

 

 

 

Beep and Bob, by Jonathan Roth (Simon and Schuster)
In this adorable chapter book series that School Library Journal said is for “kids who love funny stories but may be too young for books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” space-school attendee Bob and his alien bestie Beep star in hilarious intergalactic adventures.
Does anyone have any other books that should make this list? Let us know in the comments. And in the meantime, let’s keep reading and encouraging our girls to reach for the stars.

“Fall” into Nonfiction with some great new Titles

Looking for some AWESOME Middle Grade and YA nonfiction to add to your shelves this fall?  Check out some of the Amazing titles listed below– from a playful book about cats, to a history thriller about the famous Booth Brothers, two books about women and girls who changed the world, an incredible story of bionic animals, a creepy book about the way poison was used throughout history,  a series on discovering animal secrets, and the first in a series of facts that are too crazy to be true, yet they are… These books showcase Nonfiction as the very exciting, highly intriguing topic it is. #NonfictionROCKS

 

True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties

By Aline Alexander Newman (Nat Geo Kids)


We humans love our cats and these surprising true stories will prove our cats love us back This collection of tales of playfulness, friendship, heroism, and inspiration is sure to touch the soul, tickle the funny bone, and inspire animal lovers everywhere to be the best kitty caretakers and companions they can be. There’s Bambi, whose owners taught her to respond to commands in American Sign Language; Millie, who loves exploring the outdoors and goes rock climbing with her owner; Leo, a rescued lion who changed the life of one South African family forever, and more.

 

The Booth Brothers: Drama, Fame and the Death of President Lincoln by Rebecca Langston-George (Capstone Press)


Today everyone knows the name of John Wilkes Booth, the notorious zealot who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. But in his lifetime, the killer was an actor who was well-known among fans of the theater, well-known but less famous and less admired than his brother Edwin. In the 1860s, Edwin Booth ranked among the greatest and most-respected stars of the stage. He lived in New York and sympathized with the Union cause, while his younger brother stomped the streets of Washington, D.C., and raged as the Civil War turned in favor of the North. John fantasized about kidnapping the president, but after the defeat of the Confederacy, he sought deadly vengeance. The night Lincoln attended a performance at Ford’s Theatre, Edwin was far away, knowing nothing of the plot unfolding in the nation’s capital.

 

 

Bold Women of Medicine
21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs By Susan M. Latta (Chicago Review Press)

Meet 21 determined women who have dedicated their lives to healing others. In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton–the “Lady with the Lamp” and the “Angel of the Battlefield”–earned their nicknames by daring to enter battlefields to aid wounded soldiers, forever changing the standards of medicine. Modern-day medical heroines such as Bonnie Simpson Mason, who harnessed the challenges of her chronic illness and founded an organization to introduce women and minorities to orthopedic surgery, and Kathy Magliato, who jumped the hurdles to become a talented surgeon in the male-dominated arena of heart transplants, will inspire any young reader interested in the art, science, and lifechanging applications of medicine. Lovers of adventure will follow Mary Carson Breckinridge, the “nurse on horseback” who delivered babies in the Appalachian Mountains and believed that everyone, including our poorest and most vulnerable citizens, deserve good health care, and Jerri Nielsen, the doctor stationed in Antarctica who, cut off from help, had to bravely treat her own breast cancer. These and 15 other daring women inspire with their courage, persistence, and belief in the power of both science and compassion.
Packed with photos and informative sidebars and including source notes and a bibliography, Bold Women of Medicine is an invaluable addition to any student’s or aspiring doctor or nurse’s bookshelf.

Lotta Crabtree: Gold Rush Fairy Star By Lois Harris (Pelican Publishing Company)

With the California Gold Rush reaching a feverish peak, it was up to child performers called “Fairy Stars” to keep the miners entertained. As adventurers from all over the world spent hours scouring the land for gold, the children would dance, sing, and act to raise spirits and money–and the most successful among them was Lotta Crabtree. At just eight years old, Lotta won hearts on the West and East Coasts with her extraordinary talent for performing. Thus began a career that lasted decades, launching Lotta to stardom and making her one of the most beloved actresses of the nineteenth century. In this unique biography for young readers, follow Lotta’s first years, her struggle to support her family, and her spectacular journey to fame by age twenty.

 

Unstoppable:True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals By Nancy Furstinger (Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt)


Chris P. Bacon was born with malformed legs, but with the help of a wheelchair made of construction toys, he’s become a hero to people with similar challenges. Nancy Furstinger profiles Chris P. Bacon and many other animals in Unstoppable–all of whom are making their way around with the help of prosthetics, braces, orthotics and wheelchairs Readers will meet the caretakers, prosthetists, vets, and loving families that help to make recovery possible. Furstinger offers a glimpse into the cutting-edge technologies, such as 3D printing and brain-controlled prosthetics, that are helping to improve the lives of animals and humans alike.

 

Poison:Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines By Sarah Albee (Crown BFYR)

Science geeks and armchair detectives will soak up this non-lethal, humorous account of the role poisons have played in human history. Perfect for STEM enthusiasts
For centuries, people have been poisoning one another–changing personal lives and the course of empires alike.
From spurned spouses and rivals, to condemned prisoners like Socrates, to endangered emperors like Alexander the Great, to modern-day leaders like Joseph Stalin and Yasser Arafat, poison has played a starring role in the demise of countless individuals. And those are just the deliberate poisonings. Medical mishaps, greedy “snake oil” salesmen and food contaminants, poisonous Prohibition, and industrial toxins also impacted millions.
Part history, part chemistry, part whodunit, Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines traces the role poisons have played in history from antiquity to the present and shines a ghoulish light on the deadly intersection of human nature . . . and Mother Nature.

 

The Secret of the Scuba Diving Spider… and More!
By Ana Maria Rodriguez (Enslow Publishing)


Readers will dive along with an underwater spider and also discover why caterpillars need an emergency whistle, how moths talk back to bats, that zombie beetles really exist, and what makes cockroaches so hard to catch. Primary sources include interviews with the scientists and original photos. Simple yet detailed language makes complicated scientific ideas easy to understand. A hands-on activity allows students to take on the role of scientist and examine these basic biological principles themselves.

 

Fault Lines in the Constitution:The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today By Cynthia Levinson; Sanford Levinson (Peachtree Publishers)

Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the US Constitution.

Husband-and-wife team Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced–then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate. Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications.  From the award-winning team, Cynthia Levinson, children’s book author, and Sanford Levinson, constitutional law scholar, Fault Lines in the Constitution will encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike.

 

Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!  By Ammi-Joan Paquette; Laurie Ann Thompson (Walden Pond Press)

Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true–and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts

 

Geoengineering Earth’s Climate: Resetting the Thermostat By Jennifer Swanson (21st Century Books/Lerner)

“Most scientists agree that Earth is warming rapidly. Glaciers are melting and rising seawaters are submerging islands and coastal cities. In the coming decades, millions will likely have to escape extreme weather caused by climate change. Some scientists say we need to act faster and with radical new technologies—now—to save our planet. They propose geoengineering, or “”engineering Earth,”” to reset our global thermostat. Ideas include thickening clouds with chemicals to reduce the amount of sunlight and pulling carbon dioxide from the air with machines. However, critics say that geoengineering could backfire and create even worse weather. Is geoengineering too risky? Or is it our best hope of survival?”