Lab Girl

Lab Girl

Book - 2016
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"An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world,"--Amazon.com.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101874936
1101874937
Branch Call Number: 570.92 J198J 2016
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

More than just a chronicle of the adventures and challenges of a woman scientist, Jahren’s memoir is a heartwarming tribute to her steadfast lab partner, Bill, and a fascinating peek into the scientific research about which she is so passionate.


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gothiclibrarian Dec 04, 2018

Memoirs by female scientists can seem few-and-far-between.

Hope Jahren's account of her life is both an homage to her prodigious scientific output and interests as well as her intriguing life story, beginning in rural Minnesota with Scandinavian-American parents and ending with her tenure at the University of Hawaii.

Girls interested in STEM careers, tree-huggers/scientists/gardeners, and those who just enjoy good memoirs will find much to like in this volume that *begs* to be read and discussed by groups.

l
legadillo
Oct 09, 2018

More life lessons than science lessons.

b
blue_41
Jul 29, 2018

Hope Jahren's book is a story of a still developing scientist driven by curiosity, creativity, and perseverance. She and her collaborators get results to questions about how plants grow and survive in the wild by asking critical questions, devising experiments, scrounging equipment to do those studies, and working without cease to get the data to analyze. Just add funding.
Her writing is personal and quirky and expands far beyond the unemotional prose of scientific journals. I enjoyed the book all the way through.

phill167 May 14, 2018

FROM LIBRARY STAFF

Book Club meeting will be held Wednesday, June 13 at 1:30 p.m. at Angus Glen Library

o
orange_lobster_23
Apr 30, 2018

This is a beautifully crafted, memoir of a passionately curious geo-biologist and a warm and funny tribute to her fellow researcher-soul-mate. Interspersed with mini-essays about the nature of soil, earthworms and tenacity of plants and fungi; this book is a reverent look at our diminishing natural world. The anecdotes on navigating the complex obstacle course of grant-writing, budgeting and academic egos is hilarious. I absolutely loved this book and how it added to my appreciation of a dedicated scientific life.

m
mamahawk0525
Dec 30, 2017

I strongly recommend that all STEM girls read this fabulous book! My daughter is a budding scientist with one more year of undergraduate studies. She plans on taking her education all the way and fulfilling her dream of marine research. This books enlightens the reader regarding the trials and tribulations of lab/research science, particularly from the female perspective, while not discouraging you. If you or those you love are considering pursuing a passion, please read this book. You'll learn that expressing your passion can lead to a wonderfully fulfilling life.

r
ritarufus
Nov 05, 2017

Interesting book but it took a long time to really get moving. Once the author started talking about the research on trees i enjoyed more. It was more of a personal journal of becoming a scientist and the struggle of having enough money to keep going. And her personal connection to her lab researcher Ben, who is a bit of a misfit.
Can't say as I'd recommend.

l
Librarydog
Jul 05, 2017

Yes, you really want to read this one. It's fascinating to slowly learn more and more about this very interesting scientist's life as you learn a LOT about trees and plants. It's quite interesting to read how differently a life can be lived, and yet be full and satisfying. Fans of "H is for Hawk" will like this one, and I also suggest "The Sound of A Wild Snail Eating" by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. I really enjoy learning so much about a subject as I read!

s
spiderfelt_0
Jun 06, 2017

There are so many reasons to love this memoir. Jahren breaks down the science with metaphors that are both meaningful and understandable. She writes beautifully of her friendship with a student turned employee and later partner in scientific exploration. There is a perfect balance between personal stories and science, never shying away from the difficult or messy parts of life. Clearly a genius of this generation, and inspiration for many.

k
kehuben
Apr 15, 2017

In Lab Girl, Hope Jahren created an enjoyable and humorous combination of memoir and science with a dash of literature. It really worked for me.

I found it intriguing how she alternated between the chapters on plants and those on her life stories, intertwining them in a way that showed how plants and humans can, at times, react in a similar manner to similar stimuli.

I loved the visit to Monkey Jungle where she sees the monkeys behaviour in terms of students in the lab. It is hilarious without being unkind or cruel.

Finally, I really appreciate that she wrote about serious science in an easily approachable manner. This is the type of science writing that can have wide appeal without a ‘dumbing down’ of the subject. I think she and Bill must be an incredible teaching team!

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s
shayshortt
Nov 17, 2016

Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.

FSJPL_Amy Jul 01, 2016

"Being able to drive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a happy life" - Hope Jahren, "Lab Girl"

q
queequegs
Jun 28, 2016

These two organisms--the wasp and the fig--have enjoyed this arrangement for almost ninety million years, evolving together through the extinction of the dinosaurs and across multiple ice ages. Theirs is like any epic love story, in that part of the appeal lies in its impossibility.

q
queequegs
Jun 28, 2016

Unlike the overall character of winter, which may be mild one year and punishing the next, the pattern of how light changes through autumn is exactly the same every year...These plants know that when your world is changing rapidly, it is important to have identified the one thing that you can always count upon.

q
queequegs
Jun 28, 2016

Love and learning are similar in that they can never be wasted.

e
EricaReynolds
Jun 28, 2016

A seed knows how to wait. Most seeds wait for at least a year before starting to grow; a cherry seed can wait for a hundred years with no problem. What exactly each seed is waiting for is known only to that seed.

e
EricaReynolds
Jun 28, 2016

Now you ask a question about your leaf. Guess what? You are now a scientist. People will tell you that you have to know math to be a scientist, or physics or chemistry. They're wrong. That's like saying you have to know how to knit to be a housewife, or that you have to know Latin to study the Bible. Sure, it helps, but there will be time for that. What comes first is a question, and you're already there. It's not nearly as involved as people make it out to be. So let me tell you some stories, one scientist to another.

Summary

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s
shayshortt
Nov 17, 2016

The daughter of a community college science professor, Hope Jahren always felt at home in the laboratory, playing there while her father worked. After obtaining her PhD from UC Berkeley, she would go on to become a geobiologist, founding multiple laboratories, and winning honours from the Fulbright to the Young Investigator Medal. Part memoir, and part science, Lab Girl shares Jahren’s experiences from graduate school to tenured professor, and all the bumps along the way, including funding cuts, bipolar disorder, and changing institutions.

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