Lab girl / Hope Jahren.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First Vintage books edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: 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. 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. "Lab Girl" is 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.
    • Content Notes:
      Prologue -- Roots and leaves -- Wood and knots -- Flowers and fruit -- Epilogue.
    • Notes:
      Originally published: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
      Includes bibliographical references.
      Accelerated Reader AR 8.0 18.0 181588.
      National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, 2017
    • ISBN:
      9781101873724
      1101873728
    • Accession Number:
      ocn951948195
      951948195
    • Accession Number:
      fay.679847

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2016 February #2

*Starred Review* While growing up in a cold place with an undemonstrative mother, Jahren found warmth and happiness in her father's laboratory at a Minnesota community college, thus setting the course for her own groundbreaking scientific quest. An award-winning geochemist and geobiologist with a love of language, self-deprecating humor, and valiant candor, Jahren presents an exceptionally compelling and enlightening memoir. Gracefully meshing her struggles as a woman scientist with the marvels of plants, she aligns the risks a sprouting seed takes in an inhospitable world with her entry into the sexist realm of science, and symbiotic plant-pollinator relationships with her crucial collaboration with Bill, a heroically steadfast and self-sacrificing partner in mischief, hard work, and discovery. Jahren recounts their hilariously barbed repartee and crazy, dangerous adventures transforming decrepit spaces into gleaming, humming labs and undertaking daunting field work. Jahren reveals her bouts with bipolar disorder and discloses the intense creativity and effort required for "curiosity-driven" science, from designing experiments to the infinite patience and dexterity required for lab work to the grueling battle for funding in a system that values products over knowledge. Finally, she matches her findings about how plants thrive and maintain life on Earth with grave concern over our reckless destruction of forests. A botanical variation on Helen Macdonald's best-selling H Is for Hawk (2015), Jahren's forthright, beautifully expressed, and galvanizing chronicle deserves the widest possible readership. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Jahren's dramatic, funny, eye-opening memoir is generating elevated interest backed by a major national promotional campaign, including author appearances. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2015 November #2

Multi-award-winning scientist Jahren talks about plant life but also her life. That rare book getting pushed in venues ranging from Scientific American to Jezebel.

[Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

LJ Reviews 2016 February #2

Jahren's first book is a refreshing mix of memoir about her journey as a woman scientist and musings about plants, the central focus of her successful scientific endeavors. What's most refreshing is the author's openness about her relationship and collaboration with research partner Bill. Over the course of 20 years their field treks take them to the North Pole, the back roads of Florida, and Ireland's countryside. Meanwhile they build three labs, including their current one at the University of Hawaii. At times funny and at other points poignant, this work expresses Jahren's passion for paleobiology—her subdiscipline within environmental geology—through her insights into plant life and growth. She skillfully ties this knowledge to her own life stories and successfully conveys the dedication required to build and sustain a research agenda and the requisite lab at any major U.S. research institution. VERDICT This title should be required reading for all budding scientists, especially young women. However, being a scientist is not essential in order to savor Jahren's stories and reflections on living as well as fossil plant life. [See Prepub Alert, 10/26/15.]—Faye Chadwell, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis

[Page 125]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PW Reviews 2016 February #3

Jahren, a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii, recounts her unfolding journey to discover "what it's like to be a plant" in this darkly humorous, emotionally raw, and exquisitely crafted memoir. In clever prose, Jahren distills what it means to be one of those researchers who "love their calling to excess." She describes the joy of working alone at night, the "multidimensional glory" of a manic episode, scavenging jury-rigged equipment from a retiring colleague, or spontaneously road-tripping with students to a roadside monkey preserve. She likens elements of her scientific career to a plant world driven by need and instinct, comparing the academic grant cycle to the resource management of a deciduous tree and the experience of setting up her first—desperately underfunded—basement lab to ambitious vines that grow quickly wherever they can. But the most extraordinary and delightful element of her narrative is her partnership with Bill, a taciturn student who becomes both her lab partner and her sarcastic, caring best friend. It's a rare portrait of a deep relationship in which the mutual esteem of the participants is unmarred by sexual tension. For Jahren, a life in science yields the gratification of asking, knowing, and telling; for the reader, the joy is in hearing about the process as much as the results. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC