Jessy Randall, Mathematics for Ladies: Poems on Women in Science. With a foreword by Pippa Goldschmidt and illustrations by Kristin DiVona of NASA's Reach Across the Stars project. London: Gold SF, 2022. Paperback, $20. ISBN 9781913380489.

Gold SF is a new feminist science fiction imprint at Goldsmiths Press / University of London, distributed by MIT. Order from Amazon, Powells, Barnes and Noble.

advance praise

"The only good science fiction poems ever written are by Jessy Randall." -- Annalee Newitz

"I never get tired of learning about women who achieved great things despite obstacles. There are so many of them -- and so many of them did not get their due." -- Katha Pollitt

"A must for lovers of poetry and science alike!" -- Emily Hockaday


"For science readers who love poetry, poetry readers who love science, and feminists and students of all ages." -- Library Journal, September 22, 2022

"Secondary schools where there is interest in STEM projects, poetry studies, and women's issues will benefit by adding this multifaceted title to their library or classroom collection." -- School Library Journal, October 28, 2022

"Every [poem] made me want to know more about the woman and her work!" -- Kathleen Kirk

"Fascinating, at times rage-inducing but always entertaining and engaging ... highly recommended" -- Jackie Law

"A mix of reverence and vicarious irreverence, outrage and bemusement, anger and equanimity, pride and cheerful self-effacement" -- Stuart Kelter

readings, interviews, panels, etc.

American Association of University Women, March 17, 2023, 10 am.

R Gallery, Boulder, Colorado, Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 pm.

Hitchcock Project interview with Dina Wood, December 23, 2022.

When It Changed: Women in SF/F Since 1972 panel discussion, Saturday, December 3, 2022, Science Fiction Foundation, University of Glasgow.

"Delving In" radio interview with Stuart Kelter, November 13, 2022.

Feature article in Library Journal, October 2022.

Colorado College Visiting Writers Series, October 11, 2022, South Hall, 4:30 reception, 5:00 reading, free books to first fifty guests.

Una McCormack reads "First Scientist" on BBC4 Radio at the 39:36 mark, October 6, 2022.

Rattlecast reading and interview, September 19, 2022 (video).

Home-made five-minute promo for the Pikes Peak Library District's Author Showcase, July 2022.

Interview with the founders of Gold SF at the Analog blog, June 2022.

York County Senior College presentation, February 23, 2022.

Colorado College "Irons in the Fire" presentation, May 2021.

Normal Public Library "Poetry is Normal" illustrated presentation, March 2021.

Scientists, in chronological order by birth year. An asterisk (*) means the poem is included in the book.
Go here for alphabetical and subject indexes

*First Scientist (? - ?) in Analog
Pandrosion (ca. 300-360)
Hypatia (ca. 360-415)
Trota of Solerna (ca. 11th-12th century) in Escape into Life
*Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh (1615-1691) forthcoming in Analog
Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)
*Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)
*Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) in Escape into Life
*Laura Bassi (1711-1778)
Anna Morandi Manzolini (1716-1774)
*Maria Gaetana, the Witch of Agnesi (1718-1799) in Redheaded Stepchild
Jane Colden (1724-1766)
*Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) in Poetry Northwest
*Wang Zhenyi (1769-1797) in Escape into Life
*Marie Germain (1776-1831)
*Mary Somerville (1780-1872)
*James Miranda Barry / Margaret Ann Bulkley (ca. 1789-1865) in Escape into Life
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps (1793-1884)
Anna Atkins (1799-1871) in Escape into Life
*Mary Anning (1799-1847) in Escape into Life
*Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) in Escape into Life
Eunice Newton Foote (1819-1888)
*Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) 1: Zuzu's Petals, Injecting Dreams into Cows; 2: LCRW; 3: Sendecki
*Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz (1822-1907) in Scientific American
*Mary Treat (1830-1923) in Ethel
*Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) in Women's Review of Books
*Rachel Bodley (1831-1888) in NAILED
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917)
*Josephine Garis Cochrane (1839-1913)
*Ellen H. Swallow Richards (1842-1911) Another Chicago Magazine
*Emily Roebling (1843-1903) in Dreams and Nightmares
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) forthcoming in Asimov's
*Sarah Frances Whiting (1847-1927)
*Bertha Benz (1849-1944) in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
*Sofya Kovalefskaya (1850-1891)
Ellen Hayes (1851-1930) in Diode
*Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) in Analog
Elizabeth Lee Hazen (1855-1975)
Fanny Hesse (1858-1934) in Escape into Life
*Charlotte Angas Scott (1858-1931) in Escape into Life
*Alice Eastwood (1859-1953) in Escape into Life
*Alicia Boole Stott (1860-1940)
*Nettie Stevens (1861-1912)
Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921)
*Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) in Asimov's, Colorado Encyclopedia, and Dwarf Stars
*Anna Wessels Williams (1863-1954) in NAILED
*Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1950)
*Marie Curie (1867-1934)
*Mary Agnes Chase (1869-1963) in Strange Horizons (with audio)
Maud Slye (1869-1954) in Poetry Northwest
*Ynes Mexia (1870-1938)
*Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972)
*Lise Meitner (1878-1968) in NAILED
*Agnes Arber (1879-1960) in Escape into Life
*Emmy Noether (1882-1935)
Johanna Westerdijk (1883-1961) forthcoming in Asimov's
*Margaret Morse Nice (1883-1974) in NAILED
Elsie Maud Wakefield (1886-1972) in Escape into Life
*Libbie Henrietta Hyman (1888-1969) in Women's Review of Books
*Alice Ball (1892-1916)
*Hilda Geiringer von Mises (1893-1973) in Diode
*Gerty Cori (1896-1957)
*Joan Beauchamp Procter (1897-1931) in The Mom Egg
Rachel Fuller Brown (1898-1980)
Hilde Mangold (1898-1924) forthcoming in Asimov's
*Helen Taussig (1898-1986) in Asimov's
*Charlotte Auerbach (1899-1994) in NAILED
*Honor Fell (1900-1986) in Escape into Life
*Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979)
*Nina Karlovna Bari (1901-1961) in Strange Horizons
Barbara McClintock (1902-1992)
Mina Rees (1902-1997)
*Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906-1992)
*Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) in NAILED
*Frances Hamerstrom (1907-1998) in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
*Bertha Parker Pallan (1907-1978) excerpted in Library Journal
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
*Mary G. Ross (1908-2008)
*Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) in Diode
Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012)
Laura Hunter Colwin (1911-2006) in Escape into Life
Elizabeth Hayes (1912-1984)
*Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) in Escape into Life
Dorothy Bernstein (1914-1988)
*Frances Oldham Kelsey (1914-2015)
*Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)
*Marie Tharp (1920-2006) in Women's Review of Books
Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat (b. 1923)
Jewel Isadora Plummer Cobb (1924-2017)
*Mary Ellen Rudin (1924-2013) in Escape into Life
*Evelyn Boyd Granville (b. 1924) in Pink Panther
*Fay Ajzenberg-Selove (1926-2012) in paper in Analog, online at the blog
Margaret Kivelson (b. 1928)
*Helen Rodríguez-Trías (1929-2001)
Carolyn Shoemaker (1929-2021) in Escape into Life
Mildred Dresselhaus (1930-2017)
*Jane Goodall (b. 1934) in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change
*Roberta Eike (b. 1934)
*Raye Montague (1935-2018) in Zocalo Public Square
*Jocelyn Bell Burnell (b. 1943) in Another Chicago Magazine
*Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017) in paper in Analog and online here


Thank you, Barbara Whitten, Colorado College Physics / Feminist and Gender Studies, for your 2015 talk on Sarah Frances Whiting, which was the seed for this series of poems.

Thank you, Rebecca Barnes, Colorado College Environmental Studies, for your ongoing work on women in science, particularly the Women in STEM Wikipedia Biographies project with CC students.

Thank you to everyone who suggested subjects for poems and/or helped in other ways: Marianne Reddin Aldrich, Melissa Penwell Belanger, Aage Bendiksen, Anna Primrose Bendiksen, Bruce Harris Bentzman, Janice Frankel Block, Amy Brooks, Ginna Brooks, Heather Powell Browne, Greg Coxson, Inge-Marie Eigsti, Paul Erickson, Re Evitt, Darcy Falk, Celia Gresham, Jennifer Gresham, Nicole Gresham, Ross Gresham, Julie Grisham, Sarah Healy, Kris Kanthak, Anju Kanumalla, Terry Kind, Kathleen Kirk, Sandra Knauf, Rebecca Laroche, Lisa Lister, Phoebe Lostroh, Eva Lovell, Norah McCormick, Heather McHale, Sarah Milteer, Alexei Pavlenko, Katherine Randall, Jane Shuffelton, Alan Simon, Maxine Simon, Steve Simon, Dava Sobel, Robert Stoesen, Margaret Towers, David Weinstock, Anna Wermuth, Barbara Whitten, Dina Wood, Cindi Zenkert-Strange.

works consulted

Agassiz, Elizabeth C. and Alexander Agassiz. Seaside Studies in Natural History. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865.
Ajzenberg-Selove, Fay. A Matter of Choices: Memoirs of a Female Physicist. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994.
Blackwell, Elizabeth. Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women: Autobiographical Sketches. London: Longmans, Green, 1895.
Bodanis, David. Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie Du Châtelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings, Seditious Verse, and the Birth of the Modern World. New York: Crown, 2006.
Bruchac, Margaret M. Savage Kin: Indigenous Informants and American Anthropologists. Tucson: University of Arizona, 2018.
Byers, Nina and Gary Williams. Out of the Shadows: Contributions of Twentieth-Century Women to Physics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Clapp, Patricia. Dr. Elizabeth: The Story of the First Woman Doctor. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1974.
Crumpler, Rebecca. A Book of Medical Discourses. Boston: Cashman, Keating, 1883.
Deakin, Michael A.B. Hypatia of Alexandria: Mathematician and Martyr. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007.
Felt, Hali. Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor. New York: Picador, 2012.
des Jardins, Julie. The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science. New York: Feminist Press, 2010.
Frost, Winifred. "History of Mathematics: Pappus and the Pandrosion Puzzlement." Function (Monash University), Volume 16, part 3, June 1992, pages 88-91.
Green, Monica, ed. The Trotula: A Medieval Compendium of Women's Medicine. Philadelphia: U. Penn, 2001.
Holmes, Rachel. Scanty Particulars: The Scandalous Life and Astonishing Secret of Dr. James Barry. New York: Random House, 2002.
Ignatofsky, Rachel. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2016.
Iqbal, Saima S. "Louis Agassiz, Under a Microscope," Harvard Crimson, March 18, 2021.
Koblitz, Ann Hibner. "A Biographical Sketch" given at the Legacy of Sofya Kovalevskaya symposium, Radcliffe College, 1985.
Lee, Jane J. “6 Women Scientists Who Were Snubbed Due to SexismNational Geographic News, May 19, 2013.
Lyusternik, L.A. “The Early Years of the Moscow Mathematical School.” Russian Mathematical Surveys, Vol. 22, Issue 4, August 1967.
Miller, Lulu. Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2020.
Moore, Donovan. What Stars Are Made Of: The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin. Cambridge: Harvard University, 2020.
Nimura, Janice. The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Sisters Brought Medicine to Women - and Women to Medicine. New York: Norton, 2021.
Ottaviani, Jim. Dignifying Science: Stories about Women Scientists. Illustrated by Donna Barr, Stephanie Gladden, Roberta Gregory, Lea Hernandez, Carla Speed McNeil, Linda Medley, Marie Severin, Jen Sorensen, and Anne Timmons, with covers by Ramona Fradon and Mary Fleener. Graphic non-fiction. Ann Arbor, MI : G.T. Labs, 2003.
Padua, Sydney. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. New York: Pantheon, 2015.
Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia. An Autobiography and Other Recollections. Ed. Katherine Haramundanis. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1996.
Polo-Blanco, Irene. “Alicia Boole Stott, a Geometer in Higher Dimension.” Historia Mathematica, Volume 35, Issue 2, May 2008, pages 123-139.
Potter, Beatrix. The Journal of Beatrix Potter 1881-1897. Transcribed from her code writings by Leslie Linder. London: Penguin, 1989.
Richards, Ellen Swallow. Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning. Boston: Home Science Publishing Co., 1897, c. 1881.
Riedel, Samantha. “James Barry Is Not Your Rorschach Testthem., February 19, 2019.
Robinson, Fiona. The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs. New York: Abrams, 2019.
Rossiter, Margaret W. Women Scientists in America: Before Affirmative Action, 1940-1972. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.
Rossiter, Margaret W. Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,, 1982.
Sample, Ian. "British Astrophysicist Overlooked by Nobels Wins $3M Award for Pulsar Work." The Guardian, September 6, 2018.
Sobel, Dava. The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. New York: Viking, 2016.
Swaby, Rachel. Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World. New York: Broadway Books, 2015.
Swaby, Rachel. Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World. New York: Delacorte Press, 2016.
Tsjeng, Zing. Forgotten Women: The Scientists. London: Cassell, 2018.
Whiting, Sarah Frances. Daytime and Evening Exercises in Astronomy, for Schools and Colleges. Boston: Ginn, 1912.
Winick, Stephen. “She Sells Seashells and Mary Anning: Metafolklore with a Twist.” Folklife Today: American Folklife Center and the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress, July 26, 2017.
Women in Chemistry and Physics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook. Ed. Louise S. Grinstein, Rose K. Rose, and Miriam H. Rafailovich. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.
Women in the Biological Sciences: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook. Ed. Louise S. Grinstein, Carol A. Biermann, Rose K. Rose. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.
Women of Mathematics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook. Ed. Louise S. Grinstein and Paul J. Campbell. New York: Greenwood, 1987.

selected novels and films

Mary Anning: Chevalier, Tracy. Remarkable Creatures. New York: Penguin, 2016. Kessel, John. Pride and Prometheus. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010. Thomas, Joan. Curiosity: A Love Story. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2010. 2020 film Ammonite.
James Miranda Barry: Levy, E.J. The Cape Doctor: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2021.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Rachel Carson, Marie Curie, Barbara McClintock: "Affinities and Disturbances" site-based dance, Barnes Science Center, Colorado College, 2020.
Marie Curie
: Redniss, Lauren. Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout. New York: HarperCollins, 2016. Graphic novel. Adapted into the 2019 film Radioactive.
Rosalind Franklin: "Rosalind Franklin vs. Watson and Crick - Science History Rap Battle." 7th grade students, KIPP Bridge Charter School, Oakland, California, 2013..
Mary Treat
: Kingsolver, Barbara. Unsheltered: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 2018.