Headstrong is in stores April 7!

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World, by Rachel Swaby. In stores April 7!


  1. Patrick

    Glad to see a favorite of mine hit the book. Sorry she wasn’t mentioned in the Wired article, Lise Meitner. Phenomenal mind, didn’t get bitter over being dissed by the guy who should have shared the Nobel Prize with her. No mention from him as she was Jewish at a bad time in Germany. Persevered and enjoyed who she was. Admirable in so many ways.

    • Marina

      Is this book available in Spanish? My boyfriend’s niece would love this book, but she only speaks Spanish.

  2. Kate S

    Dear Ms. Swaby,

    Thank you very much for authoring ‘Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — and the World.’

    Your brief profiles of each woman are informative and fun to read. I appreciate the style and facts provided — and that you curated the book to include neither the ‘poster-mother’ of female scientists, Marie Curie, nor scientists still alive.

    Would it be possible to include images or photos of the profiled women in a future edition of the book? That may help readers visualize the scientists they meet through your book; perhaps even help girls visualize themselves in scientific careers.

    Are you ever in the San Francisco Bay Area? If so, may I invite you to speak to a group of interested readers, at my firm or otherwise?

    I have bought multiple copies of your book, and plan to distribute them to senior executives at my company, who favor naming conference rooms after scientists (but have only 1 named for a woman, ‘Curie’ of course).

    I am the daughter of a physics / chemistry researcher-turned-computer-scientist who spent the majority of her professional work at the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST, formerly National Bureau of Standards or NBS, where profiled scientist Chien-Shiung Wu also worked).
    As a teen, I was told by my high school physics teacher that I should only take regular physics not advanced placement, because I wore a Pom-Pon girl’s outfit (something I never told my mother for fear she’d make me leave the team; years later when I did mention it, you can imagine her furious reaction at the teacher, not me). Unfortunately for my own career in science, I listened to the teacher.

    It is my sincere hope that the wide distribution of your book will inspire a generation of young women to ignore sexist teachers, and expand the pool of inspirational profiles you have documented — for the betterment of our world.

    Kate Sherwood

  3. NH Roberts

    Buying the book for several STEAM (added arts to Math & Engineering) directors at Magnet HS’s here in Central FL (the Space Coast). Wish for your second edition you would have photos with the essays – easier for the Visual Generation to relate.
    Congratulations on this book. Indian River Lagoon Nan

  4. Annelies Moeser

    Congratulations on your very fine book “Headstrong.” I’ve devoured it and have already sent it as a gift to family. I’ve left a review on B&N and will update Amazon as well. Hope others will review it on those sites.
    I do agree with NH Roberts that I would have liked to see portraits.

  5. Warren Wightman

    Two points: 1) Henrietta Leavitt should be included in Headstrong. She did work that made it possible to measure astronomical distances outside the solar system and for Edwin Hubble to develop Hubble’s Law regarding the expanding universe. She also fits your pattern of a female being discounted in a scientific field.
    2) Did you know that the famous Watson and Crick paper in Nature announcing their discovery of the structure of DNA does credit Rosalind Franklin? She gets as much credit as her boss, Maurice Wilkins.

  6. Claudia Franklin

    Dear Ms. Swaby,

    Just finished “Headstrong” and was deeply moved. I am a 77-year-old great-grandmother. Many years ago the dean of the Engineering School addressed the packed auditorium of us incoming students by beginning his talk with “Lady and gentlemen . . .” (Please note the singular “Lady.”) Several years later I had to get a record from one of the professors and so I found myself walking through the main engineering building. To my delight, more than one-third of the students were female. I was consumed with a feeling of pride and love.

    Also, I would like to comment on the longevity of many of the woman in the book. Some were lost at tragically young ages but so many of them living exceptionally long lives. This seems to me to indicate that a passion is very healthy.

    Thank you most sincerely for this wonderful book,
    Claudia Franklin

    • Roger Crane

      Congratulation on your book, “Headstrong– 52 women who changed science — and the world.” Not only is it highly readable, it’s absolutely engrossing! Sincerely, Roger Crane

  7. Pat (Patricia) Bassett

    I just got a Copy of “Headstrong”, & must mention, I almost did NOT buy as you listed no section for Chemistry!!
    Luckily I saw some women chemists in other classifications,
    thanks, it is a great read,
    (yes a headstrong woman in Chemistry, which was a battle in the 1960’s)

  8. Sandra C. Greer

    I also want to object to the omission of Chemistry!! You could have had “Chemistry and Physics” as a chapter,
    but omitting Chemistry altogether is not acceptable. The chemists in your other chapters include Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
    and Ellen Swallow Richards. Marie Lavoisier and Agnes Pockels come to mind.

    I disagree about excluding Marie Curie, who could be called a chemist or a physicisit. Vera Rubin is an astronomer who discovered dark matter and she should be in there. You might look at Margaret Rossiter’s wonderful books for more ideas.

    • ishome

      Thanks for your comment. I wish I could have included more! Vera Rubin was still alive when I wrote the book, so I wasn’t able to include her.

  9. Alan Castree

    great book but Oh my! how could you leave out two astronomical talents, Caroline Herschel and Jocelyn Bell?

    • ishome

      I certainly wish I could have included more! So many great people—too many for one book! I really wanted to include Jocelyn Bell’s work, but I couldn’t include her because she’s still alive.

  10. Berenice Reyes

    This book is wonderful, and i just started reading, i’m in page 18 and all i can think of is, I want every woman I know to read it, but I’m in Mexico, and most women I know don’t speak English, is there a plan to translate? Should I just start doing it myself?

  11. Beth Cusack

    Headstrong is a powerful book. A true revelation. Thank you for taking on this great research. I hope it reaches many of our youth in their school libraries. I intend to see if I can get a copy for our local high school library.

  12. Janice

    Thank you to infinity! What an amazing collection of profiles. We all stand on the achievements of these awesome women. May the gift of this book inspire and expand the hearts and minds of many.

  13. joe@thefreshwatertrust.org

    Breakthrough. This has rapidly become required reading anybody coming in contact with me (I may need a bulk deal). As a conservationist, I have to believe this will put some long dormant but very big gears into motion. As someone with scientists (and budding young scientists) in my family, I’m really glad the beef stroganoff obit was written–and more importantly, read by you. My great hope is this marks an awakening to achievements long-hidden and catalyzes even greater achievements hastened by more opportunities going forward. Thanks for writing.

  14. Joanna Graczyk

    Thank you for this great and inspiring book! I am reading it in Polish 🙂 One chapter in the morning it’s the best way to start your day, get inspired, motivated and finally understand that as a girl, I can do much more than I was told! Thank you thank you thank you!

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