Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought)

Written by Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

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Who knew that Albert Einstein’s brain was carried around in a jar for forty-three years? Or that the system of medicine developed by one man, Iban Sina, was used for six hundred years? Or that Ivan Pavlov had to support his important scientific discoveries by selling 15,000 jars of gastric juice from dogs (claiming it would help ill people eat)? Sixth grade readers of Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought) will discover these intriguing facts and will be hooked by the science and history they learn along the way.

In Lives of the Scientists, Kathleen Krull presents eighteen scientists in chronological order. The scientists range from the well-known Charles Darwin and Galileo to the lesser-known Zhang Heng (who developed the world’s first seismometer) and Grace Murray Hopper (who wrote the first computer operations manual). Fun facts are incorporated into the historical presentations as well as in bulleted “extra credits” at the end of most chapters. Almost every spread includes a full-page illustration or spot art by Kathryn Hewitt. The art presents the scientists in caricature and highlights a key aspect of their work. The lighthearted illustrations brings the book to life.

Krull uses accessible, conversational language which will help young readers connect to these iconic men and women. She includes details of the scientists’ personal opinions such as the fact that Einstein couldn’t stand to wear socks because he didn’t like it when his toe poked out of a hole or that Marie Curie disapproved of high heels, feeling that women were never meant to walk on stilts. Details such as these personify the scientists, helping the reader relate to them.

Teachers hoping to cover the nature of science and scientific and engineering practices might add this to their reading lists as the Lives of Scientists interests students in the scientists themselves and showcases the dedication and determination required to make major discoveries.

  • Lives of ScientistsTITLE: Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought)
  • AUTHOR: Kathleen Krull
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Kathryn Hewitt
  • PUBLISHER: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013
  • REVIEWER: Heather L. Montgomery
  • FORMAT: Hardcover, 96 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-15-205909-5
  • GENRE: Nonfiction, Science, History
  • LEXILE: 1040

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