Cover image for 100 most popular scientists for young adults : biographical sketches and professional paths
100 most popular scientists for young adults : biographical sketches and professional paths
Haven, Kendall F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999.
Physical Description:
xv, 526 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library Q141 .K424 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Revealing the career histories of successful 20th century scientists, this exciting resource offers students fascinating reads, a wonderful research tool, and tips to launching a science career. They'll learn about Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered the Titanic; Annie Wauneka, who eradicated TB among the Navajo; and Chien-Shiung Wu, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan project. They will also find information about many Nobel Prize winners and such familiar personalities as Sally Ride, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, Dian Fossey, and Margaret Mead. Physical, earth, and life sciences are represented, with a focus on contemporary North Americans. Descriptions of each scientist's most important contributions and biographical sketches are accompanied by words of advice to today's students who wish to establish a science career. Photos of some of the scientists illustrate the text, and lists for further reading are included.

Author Notes

KENDALL HAVEN is a nationally recognized master storyteller and the author of numerous books, including Marvels of Math, Write Right! , and Close Encounters with Deadly Dangers . A former research scientist, he is based in Fulton, California.

DONNA CLARK is an award-winning freelance writer based in Sacramento, California. She has published in national magazines, local publications, and literary journals and teaches classes in creative writing at Sonoma College in California.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Aimed at students in grades seven and up, the biographical sketches of 100 scientists represent both genders (almost one-third are women) and a variety of ethnicities and disciplines. They range from the popular (Isaac Asimov, Bill Nye) to the less well-known (Robert Bakker, Ted Hoff). The authors have written an excellent introduction that describes their selection process. The biographees were chosen from a list of more than 500 scientists nominated by the authors and a review committee consisting of science teachers and students and the authors. Coverage is limited to twentieth-century scientists "because their career paths and struggles will be more relevant to today's students." Two features make this book interesting. One is the focus on life stories: how did these scientists get to where they are? What were their motivations? Who were their role models? How did their family lives influence their work? Second, each sketch ends with a paragraph of advice for young readers. The authors try to include quotes from each scientist, and they paraphrase advice from the work of those who are dead. The format of the entries is simple. Each starts with a short list of career highlights, then a synopsis of "Important Contributions." A two-or three-page narrative, "Career Path," follows this. A list of key dates precedes the paragraph of advice. The sketch ends with a bibliography of works by and about the scientist. A photograph of the person appears at the beginning of most of the articles. There are several more comprehensive biographical resources on scientists for students: Marshall Cavendish's Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists [RBB My 15 98], The Grolier Library of Science Biographies [RBB Je 1 & 15 97], and UXL's series Scientists: Their Lives and Works (now up to six volumes), to name just a few. Students may appreciate the convenient one-volume format of 100 Most Popular Scientists and the motivational aspect of the essays. The authors plan future editions to emphasize "new, upcoming, and recent scientists." Recommended for middle-school, high-school, and public libraries.

Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-This resource was designed in part "to help readers prepare for, plan, and more accurately envision their own careers." Each biographical sketch is divided into six sections: "Career Highlights," "Important Contributions," "Career Path," "Key Dates," "Advice," and "References." Most of the alphabetically arranged entries begin with a black-and-white photo and an intriguing subtitle such as "Studying the Drowned Museum" or "The Unconventional Genius." Along with successes, the articles mention the setbacks, sidetracks, and failures these 20th-century scientists encountered. Well-known individuals such as Jacques Cousteau, Sally Ride, and Carl Sagan are assembled here along with unheralded newcomers to the field. One third of the entries are about women and many ethnic groups are represented. The paragraph of advice from each scientist was actually written by the authors and contains quotes and suggestions. Most are in the nature of "Take all the science courses available." A bibliography concludes each entry. Valuable appendixes include an extensive list of Web sites and lists of scientists by their field of specialization. The clear type and attractive layout combined with lively writing, good organization, and curriculum-related content will make the book a useful reference source.-Priscilla Bennett, State University of West Georgia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The life stories of prominent scientists can serve as an inspiration for a new generation of students and young people. With this aim in mind, Haven and Clark provide biographical sketches of 100 scientists from the US in the 20th century. Some, such as Francis Crick, Robert Goddard, and Barbara McClintock, are well known, and others (e.g., Eugenie Clark and Dennis Gabor) are less familiar. This group of 100 represents physical and biological sciences, and about a third of the biographies are of female scientists. Each relatively short entry (about 1,500 words) includes the following: career highlights, important contributions, career path (the longest part and the heart of each sketch), key dates, advice, and annotated references. A black-and-white photograph of the individual is included with many of the biographies. The advice section consists of recommendations from the scientists for aspiring students, but it is unclear as to how this information was obtained (published works?, interviews?). References provide additional biographical material or discipline-specific readings, but the latter may be very difficult for the intended audience of readers in late high school or early college. Though some of the individual sketches are dry, the book does have some inspirational elements and, overall, provides interesting reading. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. J. Z. Kiss; Miami University

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