Mathematics for Ladies

Jessy Randall


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Goldsmith's Press
13 September 2022
ISBN: 9781913380489
144 pages

From the publisher

Hilarious, heart-breaking, and perfectly pitched, these carefully researched poems about historical women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine will bring you to both laughter and outrage in just a few lines. A wickedly funny, feminist take on the lives and work of women who resisted their parents, their governments, the rules and conventions of their times, and sometimes situations as insidious as a lack of a women's bathroom in a college science building.

Discover seashells by the seashore alongside Mary Anning and learn how Elizabeth Blackwell lost her eye. Read about Bertha Pallan's side hustle in the circus, Honor Fell bringing a ferret to her sister's wedding, Annie Jump Cannon cataloguing stars, Mary G. Ross stumping the panel on “What's My Line?,” Alice Ball's cure for leprosy, and Roberta Eike stowing away on a research vessel. Some of these poems celebrate women who triumphed spectacularly. Others remember women who barely survived.

Explore the stories of women you may have heard of (Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Émilie du Châtelet) alongside those of others you may not (Virginia Apgar, Maryam Mirzakhani, Ynes Mexia, Susan La Flesche Picotte, Chien-Shiung Wu). If you have come across Randall's poems in Scientific AmericanAnalog, or Asimov's, you will have already opened the door to these tales, all the more extraordinary because they are true.

Illustrated with Kristin DiVona's portraits for NASA's “Reaching Across the Stars” project, this is a book to share with scientists, feminists, and poets, young and old and of any gender.

‘The only good science fiction poems ever written are by Jessy Randall.’ – Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline and Autonomous

‘I never get tired of learning about women who achieved great things despite obstacles. There are so many of them—and so many of them did not get their due.’ – Katha Pollitt, Women's Review of Books