Title: Women Astronomers: Reaching for the Stars
Author: Mabel Armstrong
First published: 2008
This edition: 2008 (ARC)
This is another ARC I've managed to snag from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program. This moderately-sized book has a hideous, hideous cover---but, I think, excellent content.
This is actually the first book in a planned "Discovering Women in Science" series by Armstrong, who will be writing about women chemists next (her own field being chemistry). It's targeted towards girls in high school, perhaps specifically those studying the sciences. I'm older than those in the target demographic, but I still found it to be an enjoyable and informative read.
The format is simple. Female astronomers are profiled more or less chronologically, with a biography and highlights of important discoveries. Some are treated at greater length than others, in proportion to their discoveries and/or how much information is available. There are plenty of magazine-style inserts alongside the text talking about various astronomical terms, instruments, etc.
I was especially interested in this book because I am actually taking an astronomy course this year, in order to fulfil one of my degree requirements. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm really enjoying it. It's a fascinating field, and I also appreciate that we're dealing with little math but lots of pictures!
That being said, I was very impressed with the way astronomical terms, concepts, and discoveries are explained in this text. These inserts (usually relevant to the work/life of the astronomer being profiled) are clear, concise, and easy to grasp. These concepts are also well indexed--indexes being highly important in non-fiction texts! I also quite liked the timeline running at the bottom of the pages, which helped to put various lives/discoveries in historical context.
It should be noted that the ARC I read contained a number of unfortunate copy-editing goofs. I am confident, however, that they will have been found and corrected before publication.
This book is an excellent resource for those interested in astronomy, those interested in women scientists, and those interested in the history of scientific discoveries. I would highly recommend it.