Rise of the Rocket Girls

Rise of the Rocket Girls The Riveting True Story Of The Women Who Launched America Into SpaceIn The S And S, When The Newly Minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory Needed Quick Thinking Mathematicians To Calculate Velocities And Plot Trajectories, They Didn T Turn To Male Graduates Rather, They Recruited An Elite Group Of Young Women Who, With Only Pencil, Paper, And Mathematical Prowess, Transformed Rocket Design, Helped Bring About The First American Satellites, And Made The Exploration Of The Solar System Possible For The First Time, Rise Of The Rocket Girls Tells The Stories Of These Women Known As Human Computers Who Broke The Boundaries Of Both Gender And Science Based On Extensive Research And Interviews With All The Living Members Of The Team, Rise Of The Rocket Girls Offers A Unique Perspective On The Role Of Women In Science Both Where We Ve Been, And The Far Reaches Of Space To Which We Re Heading I didn t win Rise of the Rocket Girls The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars via Goodreads giveaways I did, however, discover it there Which is still a win, in my book Because it s one of THE most astonishingly AMAZING, compellingly ENTHRALLING, science space history works of non fiction celebrating women of notoriety on the PLANET Before IBM built mainframes, before FORTRAN or BASIC or any other coding language, and long before women were awarded engineering degree I didn t win Rise of the Rocket Girls The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars via Goodreads giveaways I did, however, discover it there Which is still a win, in my book Because it s one of THE most astonishingly AMAZING, compellingly ENTHRALLING, science space history works of non fiction celebrating women of notoriety on the PLANET Before IBM built mainframes, before FORTRAN or BASIC or any other coding language, and long before women were awarded engineering degrees, the Rocket Girls were performing intricately complex mathematical equations, writing code, manipulating formulas with pencil and paper, mind you for the designing, constructing, testing, and the launching of rockets and missiles for military purposes and space exploration Space exploration being their passion Then when IBM came on the scene, these women were writing code, AND teaching it to their male counterparts those guys with lambskin awarded engineering degrees This is their story the Rocket Girls of JPL collectively and individually And let me just say, Nathalia Holt knocked it out of the park soaring well over the retaining wall into the outer reaches non fiction excellence The time and attention, not to mention care and fortitude, she and her editing publishing team gave to researching, interviewing, exploring, designing, and penning of this unprecedentedly excellent book shows throughout, from cover to cover In case you couldn t tell, I m over the moon with this book So much so, I m going to buy a copy to send to one of my granddaughters Though it isn t written for a young adult audience much of the mathematical and scientific content might be a little heady for tweens, and maybe even for teens I feel like it s important to expose girls and young women to stories celebrating women who excel in mathematics and science and other non traditional careers All the way around, whether or not your interests encompass women s studies, this is a highly recommendable book for anyone who enjoys exemplary works regaling unique history stories, memoirs, science and or mathematics nuanced non fiction, and or space exploration FIVE Superbly Amazing to the NTH DEGREE Women s History STARS I could not finish this book I read 1 3 then skimmed the rest.The history is put in such a sexist framework, I felt I was reading creative non fiction, a script for a movie, or a historical fiction retelling The focus on the women s attractiveness, romantic affairs, and having babies was not at all appropriate to their scientific contribution and ground breaking achievements in a time when women were excluded from scientific endeavour and the work force If the book had intended to interrogate I could not finish this book I read 1 3 then skimmed the rest.The history is put in such a sexist framework, I felt I was reading creative non fiction, a script for a movie, or a historical fiction retelling The focus on the women s attractiveness, romantic affairs, and having babies was not at all appropriate to their scientific contribution and ground breaking achievements in a time when women were excluded from scientific endeavour and the work force If the book had intended to interrogate the trials of juggling work and family life during political and scientific upheaval, it failed miserably as there was much hand waving towards women s political and legal justice shift The book fell into a distracting repetition of talking about the women in very dramatic, emotional language for a paragraph or two, then spent pages on dry facts and lauding the men of JPL, often leaving the women out of the experiments As this was a work place problem, the political implications should have been discussed, but they never were Similarly, any work place sexual harassment was hand waved and laughed away, as well as being fired for pregnancy the narrative put the burden upon the women instead of interrogating the problems within the system What was of interest, the work and massive contribution the women scientists did, was rendered down into very pithy descriptions The feminist contributions the women did undertake were presented in very Lean In style, putting no onus on the company itself childcare maternal care community All created by the women themselves, and did not seem supported by men or the company, yet this was never interrogated The descriptions of the women, their figures, and clothes were incredibly distracting and sexist, and seemed framed to assure aconservative reader that It s okay lads They may have sent us into outer space, but they were sexy and popped out babies while they did it, never fear I d give this a half star if I could The author had no grounding in the feminist political movements of the time or the hard political yards undertaken by women in these environments This is a fascinating look into the lives of the women who have worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from its inception in the 1940s until today Despite my interest in NASA and the history of space program, I didn t know much about JPL and was blown away by the stories of the women who were doing such important work at a time when women were not encouraged to have careers at all, much less careers in science I also thought it was really interesting to learn about how things worked in the in This is a fascinating look into the lives of the women who have worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from its inception in the 1940s until today Despite my interest in NASA and the history of space program, I didn t know much about JPL and was blown away by the stories of the women who were doing such important work at a time when women were not encouraged to have careers at all, much less careers in science I also thought it was really interesting to learn about how things worked in the initial development of satellites and rockets It s incredible that all the math was done by hand in those days, and amazing that it was primarily women who were doing the calculations considering the attitude society had about women in science at the time Nathalia Holt does a wonderful job of weaving the individual women s stories with the details of JPL and the work they were doing there It makes for a fascinating book that provides a lot of fun information with a human interest element as well Rise of the Rocket Girls is an excellent read, as well as a well researched and organized history of the involvement of women computers working for the Jet Propulsion Lab Nathalia Holt s book left me feeling happy.World War II ushered in a new desire from all combatants for improved weapons of war All involved governments spent as much money as they could on stocking up on weapons Missile development was in its infancy before the war had started, but of course, once the war began in earne Rise of the Rocket Girls is an excellent read, as well as a well researched and organized history of the involvement of women computers working for the Jet Propulsion Lab Nathalia Holt s book left me feeling happy.World War II ushered in a new desire from all combatants for improved weapons of war All involved governments spent as much money as they could on stocking up on weapons Missile development was in its infancy before the war had started, but of course, once the war began in earnest, everybody realized what a great weapon a missile would be, especially for the government that first solved the dual problems of launching them and of aiming them accurately at a target once launched Private hobbyists, universities and governments were sporadically working on missile technology Even after the war started they had not yet become a cohesive group Separately at first, groups of scientists and engineers, sometimes simply friends who decided to work together, searched for abandoned warehouses, factories and airfields to do research into building missiles As their work was literally explosive, they needed places far from human habitats Some of the men they were all men initially workingandofficially for the government and for the private companies who formed research laboratories had girlfriends who also became interested in the work Luckily for history, a few of the women had been born with the maths gene and so had studied math as a hobby Not many universities allowed women to enroll in math classes, but a few did Some women had had fathers who indulged their daughters interest in math, too In time, in these early days, a few of the women became accepted as auxiliary members of the teams working on missile development As certain women rose to leadership roles in the newly formed math calculation department at the Jet Propulsion Lab women were the best at the work they began the work on the maths necessary to shoot rockets accurately These women became known as the computers Just as designing missiles was all by hand, so was figuring out trajectories Eventually, machines would take over the work of solving mathematical equations, and these machines would take on the name by which the women s math department had been called Computers Eventually, the work changed from missile trajectories to working out how to fly rockets to Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Uranus Later, the work became how to direct rockets to land a man on the Moon None of these women hired as computers had engineering degrees many colleges had rules forbidding women to study engineering , so they were left out a lot by upper management in certain meetings and in being respected However, lower ranking departmental employees had to be muchinvolved together in consultation and in the work, so respect slowly grew The women s salaries was a third to half of what the men earned, although they were doing either the same work or work which was essential to getting rockets off the ground and to landing where they needed to be And like career women today, they struggled with the events of marriages and child care interfering with their jobs However, unlike most women today, they were forced to resign after a baby was born, career over.Sigh.The story of the rocket girls is generally a happy one, though The author explains how the women helped NASA put people and rovers and satellites into space, describing how women were involved from the 1940 s to today She does so through interesting biographies of the women and an easy to understand history of rocket development no maths for the reader to struggle with Some of the spectacular successes and failures of rocket history are explained, including information I did not know before In the back of the book are extensive notes and an index.I highly recommend Rise of the Rocket Girls I wish I could give this 2.5 stars While I enjoyed the author s intentions and much of the history, Holt is a lackluster storyteller at best with a tendency to portray her rocket girls as giddy, impressionable preteens who areconcerned with correcting their wind blown girlish hair than they are with representing themselves as agents of their own careers Every shallow description of Barbara s slim A line skirt belies the seriousness with which she hopes the readers will perceive the I wish I could give this 2.5 stars While I enjoyed the author s intentions and much of the history, Holt is a lackluster storyteller at best with a tendency to portray her rocket girls as giddy, impressionable preteens who areconcerned with correcting their wind blown girlish hair than they are with representing themselves as agents of their own careers Every shallow description of Barbara s slim A line skirt belies the seriousness with which she hopes the readers will perceive the brilliance and determination of the first women rocket scientists Why does the author spend so much time undermining her own intentions with superfluous physical descriptions, such as when she stupidly points out that Barbara was gaining a lot of weight because she was too busy at JPL to eat anything but croissants and milkshakes Who gives a shit I do give it 2.5 stars because I do appreciate her methodology and use of oral history as a primary source Many of the stories were interesting, but she should have given her heroinesagency and respect One of the biggest omissions of the modern initiative to get girls and women involved in STEM is highlighting that they have long contributed materially to advancements in these fields It is unfortunate that social attitudes changed and for a time they were discouraged from studying the topics resulting in a waning presence The larger andunforgivable sin is that their presence and contributions have been actively or passively ignored in the narratives we are told When the fields hide th One of the biggest omissions of the modern initiative to get girls and women involved in STEM is highlighting that they have long contributed materially to advancements in these fields It is unfortunate that social attitudes changed and for a time they were discouraged from studying the topics resulting in a waning presence The larger andunforgivable sin is that their presence and contributions have been actively or passively ignored in the narratives we are told When the fields hide these contributions, girls and young women are robbed of relatable heroes and icons to pull them back in, social attitudes be damned.This fascinating story is a bold attempt to address these omissions It tells the history of a remarkable collection of women who were not merely present in the story of our ascension to the stars, but significantly responsible for it There are two aspects to the book One focuses on the women and the unique opportunities fostered by Macie Roberts and then subsequently by Helen Ling They actively sought out talented women to fill the roles of computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at a time when there were few similar opportunities for women with these skills and inclinations The culture was generally positive and accepting and appears to have evolved to continue to be so today.The other aspect of the book is a tour of the highs and lows of the advancements of human space exploration These women were there, but the wins and losses were incredible, tragic and shared with the country and the world This is the impact these people, men and women, had on our species and it is gobsmacking in the telling.Ultimately, with role models such as Barbara Paulson, Sylvia Miller and Sue Finley who has a large role in the recently successful Juno project to Jupiter , we don t need to invite girls back STEM isn t a man s world that we are inviting them to participate in They have always been there kicking ass and making it happen It s important we hear their names so they don t continue to get Rosalind Franklined by history I think the author misunderstood her audience s interest in looks and clothes The Nancy Drew style of writing put me off, the book wasn t particularly well organized, and I did a lot of skimming of the last 2 3.An important story that should be told But perhaps by a different author. I ve had this one for a while and finally decided to tackle it I was a little hesitant because it had the potential of being dry, since I m so not a science geek But I completely enjoyed this It was a wonderful read The women in this book were such great examples not only to all women, but also to the men in their world.This book covers a group of women who were hired by the Jet Propulsion Lab as number crunchers IBM kept coming up with ginormous calculators to do the math, but they were ne I ve had this one for a while and finally decided to tackle it I was a little hesitant because it had the potential of being dry, since I m so not a science geek But I completely enjoyed this It was a wonderful read The women in this book were such great examples not only to all women, but also to the men in their world.This book covers a group of women who were hired by the Jet Propulsion Lab as number crunchers IBM kept coming up with ginormous calculators to do the math, but they were never reliable, so these women led the way Often times, they would have to leave their job when they were fired for being pregnant, but they would always come back I thought the author did a great job and not bogging this down with the scientific details that would mean nothing to me She kept her focus on the women and their lives, both personal and professional The computer science details seemed a little to technical for me towards the end, but I was still fascinated with how much they have evolved into what we have today I m still trying to decide what to rate it 4 or 4 stars While I loved it, there was A LOT of physics and math Not that I haven t taken courses in those subjects Although, I would have liked a fewdiagrams, the author does a pretty good job of conveying what these ladies were doing, which was light years beyond my abilities I m very appreciative of what these exceptional young women had to deal with in the 40 s, 50 s, 60 s, 70 s and beyond, beingpioneers than radical rebels I m still trying to decide what to rate it 4 or 4 stars While I loved it, there was A LOT of physics and math Not that I haven t taken courses in those subjects Although, I would have liked a fewdiagrams, the author does a pretty good job of conveying what these ladies were doing, which was light years beyond my abilities I m very appreciative of what these exceptional young women had to deal with in the 40 s, 50 s, 60 s, 70 s and beyond, beingpioneers than radical rebels they were outstanding in their field and deserverecognition Super fascinating topic to highlight these amazing women unfortunately I didn t super love the writing style and slogged through this.