Lab Girl

Lab Girl

Book - 2017
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Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life but it is also so much more. ...A book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren's remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom's labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done with both the heart and the hands; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. Jahren's probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. "Lab girl" opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be. -- Publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2017
Edition: First Vintage books edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781101873724
1101873728
Branch Call Number: 570.92 J198J 2017
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 21 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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JessicaGma Jun 25, 2019

I feel this is a good book for anyone debating whether they should pursue or avoid being a scientist. Hope Jahren is willing to do anything for her work, and finds her colleague Bill who is also a hardcore scientist. But it's a lifestyle few are meant for.....Interesting,despite the pacing being a bit weird, and I can't say I liked it, but I finally read it

e
EmilyEm
May 02, 2019

Geobiologist Hope Jahren started life in small-town Austin, MN, and became the research scientist she dreamed. This is her story.

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Jahren mixes her memoir with stories about trees and other plants she has studied and treasures. Like friend Anne who said this was a ‘must read,’ I, too, loved so much about this book. Wonderful writing. Makes you want to plant a tree!

m
michaelfwood
Apr 14, 2019

Fascinating botanical revelations artfully woven into an interesting memoir.

s
spudwil
Jan 14, 2019

Decent read.

IndyPL_AnikaW 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

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.

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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.

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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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