*Dignifying Science — Recommended

In this collection of Stories About Women Scientists (as the subtitle runs), the lives of female scientists are illustrated by talented female artists. Most of the subjects will unfortunately be unknown to the casual reader, which makes the stories even more enjoyable and enlightening.

Dignifying Science includes stories illustrated by Donna Barr, Stephanie Gladden, Roberta Gregory, Lea Hernandez, Carla Speed McNeil, Linda Medley, Marie Severin, Jen Sorensen, and Anne Timmons, with a cover by Ramona Fradon and Mary Fleener.

Dignifying Science cover
Dignifying Science
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The book starts off with two pages on the best-known female scientist, Marie Curie, illustrated by Marie Severin. Her words, in a letter to her brother, state, “We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves,” as the art shows her near freezing to death, illustrating her sacrifice for her work. Her dedication, combined with the immense struggles she faced, sets the tone for the stories to follow.

Next is the most famous of the book’s experimenters, although not in the expected way. Carla Speed McNeil’s beautifully clear artwork tells the story of Hedy Lamarr, the famous movie actress, who had a patent on control systems for torpedos that used frequency switching. Without her invention, we wouldn’t have that essential modern device, the cell phone. Plus, her story contains a dramatic escape from the control of her husband, a munitions manufacturer.

Barbara McClintock (art by Lea Hernandez) won a Nobel Prize for her work with corn genetics, and Biruté Galdikas (art by Anne Timmons) studied orangutans in Borneo. Jen Sorensen’s usual thick-line style illustrates the story of Lise Meitner, showing some of her experiments that were key in understanding atomic fission and energy. Rosalind Franklin’s story is drawn by Stephanie Gladden with inserts by Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, and Linda Medley. The style changes indicate changes in perspective, with Franklin’s rather prickly personality discussed by her colleagues. This inability to get along easily with others likely accounts for her work in determining the structure of DNA being overlooked.

The GT Labs website has more information, including preview pages. I previously reviewed Two-Fisted Science, another biographical anthology written by Ottaviani.

10 Responses to “*Dignifying Science — Recommended”

  1. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Lea Hernandez has also written the how-to guide Manga Secrets. She illustrated the first Hardy Boys graphic novel, The Ocean of Osyria, Killer Princesses (written by Gail Simone), and contributed to the Dignifying Science anthology. […]

  2. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] The authors say they want more attention paid to science in comics in the first appendix. I was thus surprised, when they mentioned the state of comics as a whole, including the diversity of what’s being published, that they didn’t mention the true science comics like those done by Jay Hosler or Jim Ottaviani. Books like Clan Apis or Dignifying Science are both entertaining and factual. […]

  3. Fallout » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] GT Labs website has more information, including preview pages. I previously reviewed Dignifying Science, a biographical anthology about female scientists written by Ottaviani. […]

  4. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] The other two he’s writing will be published by noted young publisher First Second. One is about Feynman, and the other deals with the three primate researchers who worked with Louis Leakey: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas (part of whose story was previously included in Dignifying Science). […]

  5. Jim Ottaviani Keeps Blinding Me with Science - from The Zero Boss by Jay Andrew Allen Says:

    […] If you’re new to comics, I would recommend starting with either of the first two books, to ease yourself in gently. Ottaviani, though an engineer by training, is a lifelong comic book fan, and the later books are more visually sophisticated and require a bit more familiarity with comic-book tropes. Johanna Draper Carlson has some informative reviews of these books (as well as many others — her site is always worth reading). From my own experience, Ottaviani’s books are great for people who read nonfiction, enjoy Cartoon History of the Universe, are themselves scientists, or simply want a good, meaty read. […]

  6. Slowpoke: America Gone Bonkers » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Cartoonists. Sorensen has contributed to the following anthologies: 9-11: Emergency Relief, Dignifying Science, and The Great Women Cartoonists, among others. […]

  7. *Finder 7: The Rescuers — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Hedy Lamarr story, written by Jim Ottaviani, in Dignifying Science, an anthology about female […]

  8. SPX Impressions » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] It’s a great book with tons of reference material listed in the afterward. I also picked up Dignifying Science: Stories about Women Scientists and it looks equally as […]

  9. *Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Ottaviani, on the other hand, has been writing about scientists for years, but his clear explanations bring historical figures to life as people. He’s very […]

  10. “Imitation Game” Biography of Alan Turing Online » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Ottaviani, known for his scientist biographies Feynman, Primates, and Dignifying Science, among others, is back with a new one. The Imitation Game is the story of Alan Turing, the […]




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