“Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren, Knopf , $26.95, 304 pages, hardcover
“Lab Girl,” by geobiologist and three-time Fulbright Award recipient Hope Jahren, is part memoir, part botany lesson.
Jahren interweaves personal and professional tales with fascinating stories and facts about plant life that are thoroughly engaging. Her passion, dedication and love for science enabled her to overcome the harsh realities of scientific research and academia — especially the discrimination she encountered in a male-dominated field and the ever-present need for funding.
She has been ably assisted for the last 20 years by her lab partner, colleague, and perhaps best friend, Bill. I particularly enjoyed reading about their adventurous expedition one summer to the Nunavut territory in the Arctic Circle, a place once filled with “lush deciduous conifer forests” but now is without a single tree for nearly 1,000 miles. Her admiration and understanding for plant evolution has aided her in coping with the many obstacles she has faced in both her personal and professional life.