A biography of the complex and fascinating Dorothy Wrinch, her much publicized scientific feud with Linus Pauling, and her contributions to science
Senechal (The Mathematical Intelligencer, co-editor), professor emerita at Smith College, draws from scholarly archives and her own experience working with Wrinch to draw a portrait of this complicated, intriguing, and frequently overlooked polymath. Born in Argentina in 1894 to English parents, Wrinch and her family returned to England, where the burgeoning scholar struggled to overcome numerous roadblocks faced by women in academia. Senechal explores how Wrinch's curiosity prompted her to tackle problems in many fields-from probability theory and morphology to topology, biology, and biochemistry-which, while intellectually enriching, added to her professional troubles. Wrinch's success was also hampered in other ways: noted chemist Linus Pauling lambasted her groundbreaking "model of protein architecture," and her bizarre personality was off-putting to many. Taken together, these were enough to relegate Wrinch to "a footnote in the history of science." Readers with no background in the sciences may have trouble following some of Senechal's discussions, but those who persevere will discover a "scary smart" scientist, mother, teacher, and feminist whose "life was her work, [and] her work her life." Photos & illus. Agent: Regula Notzli. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Oxford University Press
December 03, 2012
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