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The Only Woman in the Room

The Only Woman in the Room by Eileen Pollack
Sep 06, 2016 | 288 Pages
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  • Paperback $18.00

    Sep 06, 2016 | 288 Pages

  • Hardcover $25.95

    Sep 15, 2015 | 288 Pages

  • Ebook $14.99

    Sep 15, 2015 | 288 Pages

Product Details


“Hard-hitting, difficult to read, and impossible to put down.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“Honest, readable, and brave.”
Library Journal

“Offering an engrossing look at the barriers still facing women in science…Pollack draws attention to this important and vexing problem with a personal narrative, beautifully written and full of important insights on the changes needed to make those barriers crumble…Any young woman or man on the way to college to major in science will find great lessons in this book.”
Washington Post

“Her memoir rings authentic, its lessons essential. A bitter pill to swallow but a vital addition to the important and frustratingly ongoing discussion about gender equity.”
—Poornima Apte, Booklist

The Only Woman in the Room is absolutely brilliant—even a sleeping pill and head cold couldn’t stop me from reading it through the night.  Pollack’s story reveals so much—I want to give it to my children, my husband, my older sister (a biologist), and every physicist I know, perhaps with key passages underlined. And especially, young women in science: read this book!”
—Meg Urry, President of the American Astronomical Society, and former chair of the Department of Physics at Yale University

“With excruciating candor Eileen Pollack details how society’s relentless message that girls lack the intrinsic aptitude for high-level math and physics leaves young women without the confidence to stay the course in the brutally competitive environment of high-powered science. This is a riveting, insider’s-account of how unconscious biases make a mockery of meritocracy, why women’s equality remains elusive, and why Larry Summers was so wrong.”
—Nancy Hopkins, Amgen Inc. Professor of Biology (emerita), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“In Eileen Pollack’s vivid description of the issues facing women in science, I immediately saw the truth of what I have lived. Pollack is convincing in showing how the obstacles for women in the U.S. are erected by our culture. In the 1960’s my mother had to put up with exclusionary rules that kept her out of a career in science. You would think things might have gotten better for my generation, and for the current generation. But they have not. Eileen Pollack courageously and honestly examines her own life and shows us why.”
—Carol Greider, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and Daniel Nathans Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University

“My remarks on women and science generated much heat—if they helped stimulate Eileen Pollack’s introspections and reflections, they shed light as well. I certainly understand many aspects of the issue better for reading Pollack’s work. We all want great opportunities for all, and as she demonstrates, the world has a long way to go.”
—Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University, and former Secretary of the Treasury

From the Hardcover edition.

Table Of Contents

PREFACE: Bright College Years


CHAPTER 1: A Different Kind of Math

CHAPTER 2: Science Fair

CHAPTER 3: Science Unfair

CHAPTER 4: Advanced Placement


CHAPTER 5: Freshman Disorientation

CHAPTER 6: Too Much Male Hormone

CHAPTER 7: Electricity and Magnetism

CHAPTER 8: The Philosophy of Existence

CHAPTER 9: X-10, Y-12, K-25

CHAPTER 10: Life on Other Planets


CHAPTER 11: The Two-Body Problem

CHAPTER 12: Statics and Dynamics

CHAPTER 13: Integration and Differentiation

CHAPTER 14: The Women Who Don’t Give a Crap

CHAPTER 15: Parallel Universes

EPILOGUE: The Sky Is Blue



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