STEM Book Club May- Overlooked Engineering Stories

STEM Book Club May- Overlooked Engineering Stories

What does the future hold for space travel? Who has Science overlooked? What amazing stories are we missing? Engineering isn’t just about things; it is about the people that build them.

MG 6534 MG 6528 MG 6559 MG 6525

Sometimes the story of Engineering is about the personalities jostling for the stars, as is the case with ‘The Space Barons’, but more often than not the real engineers are overlooked. Are the modern Space Barons true Engineering visionaries or media savvy Entrepreneurs?

‘Forgotten Women’ charts the stories of women that have been overlooked by history. Unpacking the amazing stories of some remarkable scientists. A must for anyone wanting to dip into the history of science

Finally, ‘The Radium Girls’ tells the tragic story of those involved in the crafting of early luminous watch-dials. The story of what happens when the science goes very wrong. It’s a tough but inspiring read.

While all three books are very different each gives a glimpse into how Engineering has been impacted by people and impacts people.

All these books are aimed at slightly older readers. If you are looking for books for younger readers explore our “Books For Younger Children That Encourage Learning In 2017” and “15 Books To Get You Engaged With Engineering” posts.

MG 6541 The dark story of America’s shining women
Kate Moores ‘Radium Girls’ tells the story of the young women employed as luminous watch-dial painters at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The craze for luminous watch-dials kicked off in the late 1910’s and high wages drew young women into the profession. The work was precise – a technique called lip-pointing saw women twirling camel-hair brushes to a fine point using their mouths.
The problem was the luminescent substance used to make the dials glow was radium. Exposure to it caused women to lose not only their teeth but parts of their jaw. The effects of this work were gruesome.
Moore’s book reads like a true-crime story. Moore traces the lives of more than a dozen women who did this work. She spares nothing of the emotional and physical suffering it caused and follows the story through to the 1938 trial of the Radium Dial Company
While the book is long and sad; it highlights the remarkable stories of those involved. The Radium Dial Company case, ultimately, resulted in changes to the law and was ground-breaking for workers rights.
It is a tough read, but it is important to remember when science gets things wrong and the consequences that can have on real peoples lives.
MG 6555 The Empowering Story of the Women Science Forgot

The Forgotten Women series is a great way to explore the contributions of those overlooked by History. In its latest instalment, the focus is on the women who have helped shape Science.

The book is a must for anyone interested in the History of Science. A perfect gift not only for your daughters, sisters or mum but you sons, brothers or fathers.

The book focuses on 48  overlooked women who have transformed the scientific world.

Highlights include; Mary Anning, who redefined our understanding of prehistoric life. Emmy Noether “The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of”. Wangari Maathai, who created an environmental and ecological movement in Kenya. Ynes Mexia discovered over 500 new plant species. Ruby Hirose developed the vaccine that irradicated polio. Margaret Sanger battled to legalise contraception.

Each chapter focuses on a different field. From Earth and Universe; Biology and Natural Sciences; Medicine and Psychology; Physics and Chemistry; to Mathematics and Technology, and Invention.

Tsjeng’s style is compelling and engaging. The colourful books artwork and beautiful layout ensure it is a celebration of women who were true pioneers.

MG 6552 The stories behind the super-rich buying up space

Could space be the entrepreneurial frontier? Chris Davenport’s ‘Space Baron’s tells the stories of the people who are reigniting the space race.

Since the Mercury and Apollo programs there has been no real progress in rekindling human exploration of space. For four decades a human mission to Mars has been promised by NASA.

Today the visionary quest to land on Mars has fallen to the modern day “Space Barons”.

The new space rack is often framed as turtle (Bezos Blue Orgin) vs hare (Musks SpaceX). Yet, Davenport’s book does look at other players on the field. Unpacking both the story of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos alongside Richard Branson, Burt Rutan and Paul Allen.

After founding some of the largest brands in the world – Amazon, paypal, Microsoft and Virgin – each have bet on space for the next tech revolution.

The book explores the ambitious plans they have to revive a manned space programme.

This new race isn’t only exploration for explorations sake. This new space race is about monetizing space travel. From CubeSats to Asteroid Mining and Space Tourism new industries are emergeing. Could these pay for us to become a multi-planetary specieis?

Davenports book does a great job at unpacking who has acomplished. His engaging story-telling style fills in the gaps in the story of the modern space-race.

The book boosts an impressive number of sources within the industry. The result is an insiders look at the hopes of dreams of each entrepreneur. Outlining not only what has happend so far, but the what the future holds for each company.

The book is a must for anyone interested in the modern Space Industry.

Born to Engineer Weekly

Get the latest Engineering news delivered to your inbox every Monday morning