Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which shes studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant lifebut it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahrens stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classrooms labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done with both the heart and the hands; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home....
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Lab Girl Reviews
This book is both wonderful and idiosyncratic; I found it full of surprises. It's a mixture of various aspects of Hope Jahren's life. In different parts it is the author's life story, a description of a deep and unusual friendship, the trials of being an academic and researcher, and a monument of her devotion to ecology and botany. Hope Jahren is an unusual person, overflowing with warmth, wit and originality. Her story makes for a fascinating and delightful read.
I am going to finish this by s ...more
I love a book that educates me in a non-painful way. Jahren alternates chapters between her journey as a scientist and her knowledge and passion for botany. Of special interest to me was reading about the difficulties she faced especially as a Research Botanist. Some readers in my book club found her whiny, but I thought she was just being honest in her struggles with an antiseptic upbringing, mental illness, and sexist road blocks from being a woman in a male dominated fields. I learned it take ...more
Hope Jahren's love of science comes through loud and clear in her memoir. She grew up in a rural Minnesota home where there was not much family interaction. The highlight of her day as a child was spending the afternoon in her father's science lab at the local community college. Jahren is presently a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii. Her memoir chronicles her personal history and the challenges of running her own laboratory. It also contains short chapters giving fascinating i ...more
I really wish Dr. Jahren had confined herself to talking about her work, which was interesting and inspiring. The rest of the book, especially the personal aspects, was tedious and full of endless whining. In my experience (having worked in R&D for over 25 years) women are judged on their merits as scientists. If you’re good, you’re taken seriously. Finding funding for academic research is a separate problem that affects scientists of both sexes. I also disliked her implication that there’s ...more
Firstly i want to thank Elyse for recommending this book and letting me have a chance to read it :)
Hope firstly began with her childhood and then suddenly make a jumb to her recent life (to introduce herself but kept it short) in lab with Bill (of course they can't be thought apart :)) It was nice in the beginning but after she met with Bill and they began to work together in her lab it's like everything fell into place and real story began. When she told about her studies it was not boring but ...more
My god am I a sucker for an emotionally resonant and movingly written literary memoir.
Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.While it may be a beautiful life in many ways, it has not been an easy one. Anne Hope Jahren is a geobiologist currently working at the University of Oslo. This represents a bit of homecoming, as her ancestors emigrated from Norway to Minnesota. Her father was a science teacher at a community college. She writes about having the ...more
A high 4 stars. I can't possibly describe what Lab Girl is about or review it with any linearity, because this is a tangled web of strands of memoir, natural history, philosophical musings and random thoughts. Here are my own thoughts in no particular order:
-This is an ode to trees and plants.
-This is a love letter to friendship generally and to Jahren's friend and lab partner Bill in particular.
-This is a reflection on the potency of motherhood.
-This is a peek into the lives of quirky people tr ...more