Learn About Remarkable Women Who Loved Math and Space

Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math by Jeannine Atkins is an inspiring book for young people to read (or to read as a family read-aloud). Atkins highlights seven remarkable women, beginning their biographies when they were children and tracing their lives through adulthood. The book is written in free verse with short sections focusing on specific events in their lives. If read aloud, the verse can be read as prose.

The women featured are:

Caroline Herschel – the first woman to discover a comet and earn a salary for scientific research

Florence Nightingale – known most for her contribution to nursing, she also pioneered the field of medical statistics.

Hertha Marks Ayrton – the first female electrical engineer who registered twenty-six patents

Marie Tharp – co-created a map of the ocean floor

Katherine Johnson – who helped calculate trajectories for NASA

Edna Lee Paisano – the first Native American to work full-time for the United States Census Bureau

Vera Rubin – studied galaxies and found evidence for dark matter

It was fascinating to learn about these women. Their stories have value not only for their place in history but also to inspire girls who love math to aspire to careers in these fields. It helps show girls what is possible.

Another book about inspiring women is Sew Sister: The Untold Story of Jean Wright and NASA’s Seamstresses. Jean Wright was a little girl who loved sewing but who dreamed about working for NASA. She couldn’t afford to go to college and married a Navy man when she was still young. After years of travel, they settled at Cape Canaveral. She learned of women who sewed blankets on the space shuttles.  She strove to learn all she could about the process and applied to be one of these Sew Sisters again and again until, finally, she got the chance! This book shows the value of domestic arts even in the world of science and space. It also speaks to the value of perseverance.

Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fifteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary". She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com