European women in chemistry

European women in chemistry

Jan Apotheker and Livia Simon Sarkadi (eds)

Weinhem, Germany: Wiley-VCH 2011 |256pp |?22.50 (PB)

ISBN 9783527329564

Reviewed by Helen Fielding

This book is a collection of short biographies of influential European women chemists. The book takes us from the alchemy period to the 19th and 20th centuries. Each woman’s story has its own abstract highlighting her main scientific achievements. It then describes her life, education and career path and also includes a more detailed account of her scientific triumphs.

One of the aims of the book was to celebrate the achievements of women chemists across Europe for the International Year of Chemistry, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prize for chemistry awarded to Marie Curie. It certainly achieves this goal with its accounts of over 50 women scientists, many of whom had to overcome significant hurdles in order to pursue their scientific careers.

I found the book fairly readable and would recommend it to those working in chemistry, or indeed other sciences, and also to those who are considering a scientific career. Readers should not be put off by the rather dull presentation of the book which does not do justice to the extraordinary women whose lives are described.