The best books on Scientists, recommended by Jimena Canales

Five fascinating books about scientists, selected by historian of science Jimena Canales. She explains how the scientific persona has been constructed throughout history and explores the implicit assumptions about agency, subjectivity, and causality that underlie scientific biographies.

The best books on Ada Lovelace, recommended by Ursula Martin

Ada Lovelace has become an iconic figure for women in science and is often credited with the invention of modern computing. But, as Ursula Martin—mathematician, computer scientist and Lovelace biographer—explains, all of that is a bit overblown. The Lovelace myth obscures the truth about a woman who was certainly a very brilliant mathematician, but who was also often frustrated in her scientific ambitions, in poor health and unhappy.

The best books on Isaac Newton, recommended by William Newman

John Maynard Keynes famously cast Isaac Newton not as the first scientist of the age of reason, but the last of the magicians. How should we interpret the million words he wrote, in secret, on alchemy? What should we make of Newton’s heretical religious views? William Newman talks us through the best books for a better understanding of the complex man who was one of the greatest physicists of all time.