Lab Girl

Lab Girl

Downloadable Audiobook - 2016
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An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life--but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren's remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom's labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done "with both the heart and the hands"; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. Jahren's probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be. Music for the Audio Edition:Composed by Katelyn Sweeney Ching Margaret Kocher, Cellist Katelyn Sweeney Ching, Pianist Mark Robinson, Audio Engineer Copyright 2016.
Publisher: [New York] : Random House Audio, [2016]
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781101890202
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (11 hr., 30 min., 02 sec.))
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From Library Staff

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren is a beautifully written memoir about the life of a woman in science, a brilliant friendship, and the profundity of trees. Terrific.

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Oct 26, 2020

Read for bookgroup

Aug 19, 2020

If my fellow readers out there are looking for a true botany journey with beautiful writing, read Michael Christie's "Greenwood."

Jul 03, 2020

This is a fabulous read. I found it to be a real inspiration to me and perhaps others who love botany.

Jun 03, 2020

I will never look at a tree in quite the same way again after reading Hope Jahren's memoir of what it's like to be a woman and a scientist in the United States today. She combines her personal history with deep and engaging dives into the lives of different plants. How do cacti survive? How does one stand of trees give others of their species the weapons to fight off insects? How does a research scientist manage to keep a lab going when scrambling for funding seems to take as much time as doing the actual science? Jahren's writing is often funny, quite lyrical, and always thoughtful. And now I want to go plant a tree!

CircMary Apr 08, 2020

Take a peek at the life of a real woman doing real science in what is still a largely man's world. Hope found a way to be true to herself and do what she felt she was meant to do despite the many obstacles that block all of us as we pursue our dreams.

The bonus from reading about her personal journey is what you will learn about the green world of plants that surround us. Go ahead and hug a tree when you finish this book. You will understand why.

Jan 27, 2020

I appreciated the perspective of the book, written by a female scientist that was used to being told “no” because she was a girl and yet she always dreamed big to have her own research lab some day. When she reached that dream, she still had to overcome male bias while competing for grants and status amongst her peers. She writes like I would imagine that she talks in real life, down to earth, honest, no frills. At times sad when she writes about her feelings of loneliness, not belonging, and living with bipolar disorder. In one chapter she takes you through a bipolar episode, the extreme high followed by extreme low. It was only a couple of pages, but I had to read it twice. She’s odd and quirky, and so is her lab partner Bill. The mishaps and adventures they went through together are quite entertaining. Interweaved with her journey to becoming a successful tenured professor are bits and pieces of the journey seeds take to become trees and plants. After I finished this book, I wanted to hug a tree and plant a couple of seedlings.

Sep 19, 2019


Aug 25, 2019

Part of former US President, Barack Obama's summer reading list for 2019.

JessicaGma Jun 25, 2019

I feel this is a good book for anyone debating whether they should pursue or avoid being a scientist. Hope Jahren is willing to do anything for her work, and finds her colleague Bill who is also a hardcore scientist. But it's a lifestyle few are meant for.....Interesting,despite the pacing being a bit weird, and I can't say I liked it, but I finally read it

May 02, 2019

Geobiologist Hope Jahren started life in small-town Austin, MN, and became the research scientist she dreamed. This is her story.

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Jahren mixes her memoir with stories about trees and other plants she has studied and treasures. Like friend Anne who said this was a ‘must read,’ I, too, loved so much about this book. Wonderful writing. Makes you want to plant a tree!

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Mar 01, 2020

Love and learning are similar in that they can never be wasted.

Nov 17, 2016

Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.

FSJPL_Amy Jul 01, 2016

"Being able to drive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a happy life" - Hope Jahren, "Lab Girl"

Jun 28, 2016

These two organisms--the wasp and the fig--have enjoyed this arrangement for almost ninety million years, evolving together through the extinction of the dinosaurs and across multiple ice ages. Theirs is like any epic love story, in that part of the appeal lies in its impossibility.

Jun 28, 2016

Unlike the overall character of winter, which may be mild one year and punishing the next, the pattern of how light changes through autumn is exactly the same every year...These plants know that when your world is changing rapidly, it is important to have identified the one thing that you can always count upon.

Jun 28, 2016

Love and learning are similar in that they can never be wasted.

Jun 28, 2016

A seed knows how to wait. Most seeds wait for at least a year before starting to grow; a cherry seed can wait for a hundred years with no problem. What exactly each seed is waiting for is known only to that seed.

Jun 28, 2016

Now you ask a question about your leaf. Guess what? You are now a scientist. People will tell you that you have to know math to be a scientist, or physics or chemistry. They're wrong. That's like saying you have to know how to knit to be a housewife, or that you have to know Latin to study the Bible. Sure, it helps, but there will be time for that. What comes first is a question, and you're already there. It's not nearly as involved as people make it out to be. So let me tell you some stories, one scientist to another.


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Nov 17, 2016

The daughter of a community college science professor, Hope Jahren always felt at home in the laboratory, playing there while her father worked. After obtaining her PhD from UC Berkeley, she would go on to become a geobiologist, founding multiple laboratories, and winning honours from the Fulbright to the Young Investigator Medal. Part memoir, and part science, Lab Girl shares Jahren’s experiences from graduate school to tenured professor, and all the bumps along the way, including funding cuts, bipolar disorder, and changing institutions.


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