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

"[P]lain spoken, direct, and spare ... welcoming to non-scientists ... a nice package" -- Stephen Payne, The Friday Poem

"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

Longlisted for the British Science Fiction Association award in nonfiction, 2023.

readings, interviews, panels, etc.

Womanthology podcast, May 16, 2024.

Reading, American Association of University Women annual meeting, Colorado Springs, May 3, 2024.

Lost Women of Science podcast, May 2, 2024.

Reading, Pikes Peak chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, August 15, 2023.

Interview with T.D. Walker, Interstellar Flight Magazine, July 7, 2023.

Reading, American Association of University Women, March 17, 2023.

R Gallery, Boulder, Colorado, Tuesday, February 21.

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 in Mathematics for Ladies.
Go here for alphabetical and subject indexes

*First Scientist (? - ?) in Analog
Pandrosion (ca. 300-360) in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
Hypatia (ca. 360-415) in Snakeskin
Trota of Solerno (ca. 11th-12th century) in Escape into Life
*Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Tapputi-Belatekallim (ca. 1200) forthcoming in Star*Line
Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh (1615-1691) 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-Sophie Germain (1776-1831) in Intersections
*Mary Somerville (1780-1872)
*James Miranda Barry / Margaret Ann Bulkley (ca. 1789-1865) in Escape into Life
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps (1793-1884) forthcoming in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change
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) in Dreams and Nightmares
*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) in Escape into Life
*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) in Asimov's
*Sarah Frances Whiting (1847-1927)
Ellen Eglin (before 1849-after 1890) in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change
*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
Laura Hecox (1854–1919)
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)
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) in Strange Horizons
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)
Ida Gray (1867-1953)
*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)
Edith Clarke (1883-1959)
Johanna Westerdijk (1883-1961) 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)
Sallie Pero Mead (1893-1981)
*Hilda Geiringer von Mises (1893-1973) in Diode
*Gerty Cori (1896-1957)
May Edward Chinn (1896-1980)
Elzada Clover (1897-1980)
*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
Roger Arliner Young (1899-1964) in Snakeskin
*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)
Marion Gray (1902-1979)
Mina Rees (1902-1997) in Snakeskin
Flemmie Pansy Kittrell (1904-1980)
*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
Georgia Caldwell Smith (1909-1961) in Snakeskin
Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012) in Star*Line
Laura Hunter Colwin (1911-2006) in Escape into Life
Elizabeth Hayes (1912-1984) in Quail Bell Magazine
*Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) in Escape into Life
Dorothy Bernstein (1914-1988) in Snakeskin
Lois Jotter (1914-2013)
*Frances Oldham Kelsey (1914-2015)
Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)
*Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)
Carolyn Attneave (1920-1992)
Helen Rodríguez-Trías (1920-2001)
*Marie Tharp (1920-2006) in Women's Review of Books
Ursula Franklin (1921-2016)
Eugenie Clark (1922-2015)
Odette Shotwell (1922-1998) in Quail Bell Magazine
Beatrice Medicine (1923-2005)
Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat (b. 1923)
Jewel Isadora Plummer Cobb (1924-2017) in Snakeskin
*Mary Ellen Rudin (1924-2013) in Escape into Life, reprinted in Van Vleck Vector, UNC-Wilmington's math newsletter
*Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924-2023) in Intersections and Pink Panther
*Fay Ajzenberg-Selove (1926-2012) in paper in Analog, online at the blog
June Bacon-Bercey (1928-2019) forthcoming in Utopia Science Fiction
Margaret Kivelson (b. 1928)
*Helen Rodríguez-Trías (1929-2001)
Carolyn Shoemaker (1929-2021) in Escape into Life
Mildred Dresselhaus (1930-2017)
Gladys West (b. 1930)

Joan Murrell Owens (1933-2011)
*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
Lydia Villa-Komaroff (b. 1947) in Star*Line
Diana Garcia-Prichard (b. 1949)
Mae Jemison (b. 1956)
*Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017) in paper in Analog and online here and 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, Fiona Haser Bizony, Janice Frankel Block, Amy Brooks, Ginna Brooks, Heather Powell Browne, Greg Coxson, Inge-Marie Eigsti, Paul Erickson, Re Evitt, Darcy Falk, Kathy Giuffre, Celia Gresham, Jennifer Gresham, Nicole Gresham, Ross Gresham, Julie Grisham, Tali Herman, Sarah Healy, Kris Kanthak, Anju Kanumalla, Terry Kind, Kathleen Kirk, Sandra Knauf, Rebecca Laroche, Lisa Lister, Phoebe Lostroh, Eva Lovell, Andrea Lucard, Norah McCormick, Heather McHale, Sarah Milteer, Amanda Newman, Carol Newman, Josh Newman, Alexei Pavlenko, Arthur Porter, Katherine Randall, Amy Shuffelton, Jane Shuffelton, Alan Simon, Maxine Simon, Steve Simon, Dava Sobel, Bill Stoesen, 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.
Attneave, Carolyn, "A Maverick Finds an Identity," in Florence W. Kazlow, Voices in Family Psychology, Newberry Park, California: Sage, 1990, Volume 1, pages 17-47.
Bagieu, Penelope, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World. New York: First Second, 2018.
Bailey, Martha J. American Women in Science 1950 to the Present: A Biographical Dictionary. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1998.
Biederman, Marcia. A Mighty Force: Dr. Elizabeth Hayes and Her War for Public Health. Lanham, Maryland: Prometheus, 2021.
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.
Cantu, Norma E., ed. Paths to Discovery: Autobiographies from Chicanas with Careers in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. UCLA, 2008.
Cavendish, Margaret. The Blazing World and Other Writings. Ed. Kate Lilley. New York: Penguin, 2004. (The Blazing World was first published in London in 1666 as part of Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy.)
Clapp, Patricia. Dr. Elizabeth: The Story of the First Woman Doctor. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1974.
Coxson, Greg and William Haloupek. "Sallie P. Mead: An Industrial Mathematician in the Early 20th Century." Siam News: Careers, June 15, 2022.
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.
DiMeo, Michelle. Lady Ranelagh: The Incomparable Life of Robert Boyle’s Sister. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021.
Faasse, Patricia. In Splendid Isolation: A History of the Willie Commelin Scholten Phytopathology Laboratory 1894–1992. Amsterdam University Press, 2008.
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.
Guenther, Lynn. Light of the Bay: Laura Hecox, Keeper of the Santa Cruz Lighthouse. The Author, 2022.
Hargittai, Magdola. Women Scientists: Reflections, Challenges, and Breaking Boundaries. New York: Oxford, 2015.
Herzenberg, Caroline L. Women Scientists from Antiquity to the Present: An Index. West Cornwall, Connecticut: Locust Hill Press, 1986.
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.
Jemison, Mae. Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life. Signal Press, 2020.
Jordan, Diann. Sisters in Science: Conversations with Black Women Scientists on Race, Gender, and Their Passion for Science. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2006.
Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering: No Universal Constants. Susan A. Ambrose, et. al., eds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997.
Koblitz, Ann Hibner. "A Biographical Sketch" given at the Legacy of Sofya Kovalevskaya symposium, Radcliffe College, 1985.
Lafromboise, Teresa D. and Candace Fleming. "Keeper of the Fire: A Profile of Carolyn Attneave." Journal of Counseling & Development, May/June 1990.
Lee, Jane J. “6 Women Scientists Who Were Snubbed Due to Sexism.” National 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.
Medicine, Beatrice. Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining Native: Selected Writings. Urbana: University of Illinois, 2001.
Messbarger, Rebecca. The Lady Anatomist: The Life and Works of Anna Morandi Manzolini. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010.
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. Graphic nonfiction. Ann Arbor: 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 Test.” them., 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.
Scruggs, Lawson Andrew. Women of Distinction: Remarkable in Works and Invincible in Character. Raleigh: Scruggs, 1893.
Sevigny, Melissa L. Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon. New York: Norton, 2023. 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.
Veglahn, Nancy J. Women Scientists. New York: Facts on File, 1991.
Warren, Wini. Black Women Scientists in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University, 1999.
Wayne, Tiffany K. American Women of Science Since 1900. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2011.
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.
Yount, Lisa. A to Z of Women in Science and Math. New York: Facts on File, 1999.
Zernike, Kate. The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science. New York: Scribner, 2023.

selected novels, poems, and films

Mary Anning: Chevalier, Tracy. Remarkable Creatures: A Novel. 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.
Bertha Benz: Haw, Penny. The Woman at the Wheel: A Novel. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, 2023.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Rachel Carson, Marie Curie, Barbara McClintock
: "Affinities and Disturbances" site-based dance, Barnes Science Center, Colorado College, 2020.
May Chinn:
Haulsey, Kuwana. Angel of Harlem: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2004.
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.
Maria Sibylla Merian
: Diane Ackerman poem in Scientific American in 2020. She says in her bio note she's working on a novel about Merian!
Maria Mitchell, Maria Sibylla Merian, Mary Anning: Atkins, Jeannine. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. Poetry. New York: Atheneum, 2016.
Beatrix Potter
: 2006 film Miss Potter.
Emily Roebling
: Wood, Tracey Enerson. The Engineer's Wife: A Novel. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2020.
Mary Treat
: Kingsolver, Barbara. Unsheltered: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 2018.