This book details the history of women at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It focuses on how their accomplishments helped send the United States to the planets, and how their contributions are still important to the space program today.
Nathalia Holt does an exemplary job explaining what life was like for women in scientific disciplines in the 1900s. Her book relates not just the scientific importance of these women, but also how it felt to be alive at that time. I feel that too often we forget that scientists are humans too, and we become attached to the programs that we work on. And nothing can quite beat the sense of achievement that one feels knowing you helped send a probe to another planet.
Holt’s research shows throughout the book. Her writing truly captures the lives of these women in a way that makes the reader truly able to envisage their day-to-day lives. At the same time, it does not become dry or boring. There’s always a new discovery or a new project to undertake.
If you enjoyed Hidden Figures, then this is definitely the book for you. Many people think of NASA as a singular organization, but all of its various centers have different personalities. Having worked at JPL, I can say that it is certainly very laid-back and friendly.