100 Most Popular Scientists for Young Adults: Biographical Sketches and Professional Paths

100 Most Popular Scientists for Young Adults: Biographical Sketches and Professional Paths

100 Most Popular Scientists for Young Adults: Biographical Sketches and Professional Paths

100 Most Popular Scientists for Young Adults: Biographical Sketches and Professional Paths


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.


When we hear about renowned scientists at the pinnacles of their careers who have made earth-shaking discoveries, we are filled with admiration, awe, and wonder. We wonder how they got there. Is that what they always wanted to do? Did they always know they were going to be in that field of science? Did they know they would be good at it? What do they really do in that field of science? How did they get into that field?

When they were children, did they want to be scientists? Were they good in high school? Were their parents smart? What did they do in college? Did they ever change careers? Fields? Why did they pick that field of science?

These are questions that are never asked by those eager to find out about the latest discovery, the most recent awe-inspiring accomplishment. But they are exactly the questions that are most important for someone standing at the very beginning of a career in science. and that is why we wrote this book.

This book contains biographical sketches of 100 of the most prominent and interesting American scientists of the twentieth century. We chose this group to profile because their struggles, early decisions, concerns, dilemmas, course selections, post-graduate options, and advice will be more relevant to modern teens than would be life histories of scientists from more distant places and times.

Our focus in compiling these profiles was not simply to highlight their major achievements, but rather to document the trail they carved out in getting to a position of prominence. We wanted to uncover their early intentions and plans and the early life events that shaped their career choices. We wanted to create road maps for others to use as guides in beginning and shaping successful science careers. Each of these career paths has proven successful. Each of these paths has produced a world-class scientist. From them perhaps teens will uncover keys to launching their own greatness.

The scientists in this book have come from all possible backgrounds and groups of people. Some were raised in cities, others on farms. While some were rich, others were poor. Some of these scientists had educated parents, but others had parents who never got past the third grade. Most were good students who stayed in school to obtain doctorates, but several flunked out of high school and two never earned a high school diploma. Some always felt strongly drawn toward the sciences, while others never considered the sciences until they found themselves doing something “scientific.” a few wandered along convoluted paths through many careers before finding their . . .

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