Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
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Annotation: A biography of Sophie Germain, who grew up during the French Revolution and followed her dream of studying mathematics, becoming the first woman to win a grand prize from the Royal Academy of Sciences and changing the world with her discoveries.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #154976
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: McClintock, Barbara,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-316-27820-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-316-27820-1
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2016040477
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
It would have been difficult growing up in Paris during the French Revolution, not in the least because women were denied basic education, let alone opportunities for advanced studies. But this engaging picture-book biography introduces readers to determined and brilliant mathematician Sophie Germain, who chased just that. Whether trying to overcome barriers presented by her parents, society in general, or the Royal Academy of Sciences, Sophie persevered in finding solutions to daunting mathematical challenges that confounded her male contemporaries. Her work in predicting patterns of vibrations laid the foundation for advances in construction techniques that are still being used today. McClintock's intriguingly detailed illustrations highlight period details, emphasize Sophie's gentle demeanor, and exuberantly show Sophie surrounded, inspired, and even protected by swirling numerical equations that splash across pages and endpapers. Sophisticated vocabulary, evocative imagery, and lofty math concepts (though presented in an accessible manner) skew this toward a slightly older audience. Author and illustrator notes provide additional insights, making this a useful and inspiring addition for STEM collections.
Horn Book
An early, vivid anecdote draws readers in to this compelling picture-book biography: young Sophie Germain, in Revolutionary France, would sneak out of bed at night--to study math! Bardoe's writing is graceful, lyrical, and powerful, with the phrase "nothing stopped Sophie" repeated throughout. McClintock's spirited illustrations, in gouache, collage, and colored markers, feature turn-of-the-nineteenth-century details and bold, whimsical touches. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
A girl mathematician? Impossible!"Telling Sophie not to think about math was like telling a bird not to soar," but that's exactly what people did. Growing up a middle-class, white female in late-18th-century France, Sophie Germain was discouraged from studying, especially from studying math, a discipline reserved for educated men. Markers, gouache, and elements of collage energetically power illustrations that are often filled with numbers, expanding on the appealing text and emphasizing the concept of vibration that Sophie later illuminated. She sneaked out of bed to learn the basics, corresponded anonymously with experts, and struggled for fair treatment. Becoming a mathematician was challenging, but as the story's repeating, titular refrain states, "nothing stopped Sophie"—not the French Revolution, not the sexism of the time, and not the mathematical complexities she worked through to discover the formula that made her the eventual winner of a prestigious academic contest. Resilience is the focus here, as well as the groundbreaking nature of her work; Sophie with her quiet focus and staunch dedication was able to make a difference by predicting patterns of vibration, information later used in architecture, as well as paving the way for other women in the field and, by implication, girls learning about math today.As an entree into the world of mathematics, this portrait of a quiet heroine is elegant, striking, and sure to inspire. (biographical and historical notes, bibliography, author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)
Publishers Weekly
Growing up during the French Revolution, mathematician Sophie Germain found in her study of mathematics the clarity and order missing in the outside world. Bardoe details Germain-s shrewd determination-how she acquired notes from university courses and mailed in homework under a male name. When she becomes the first woman to receive a grand prize from the Royal Academy of Sciences, she gains notoriety as a mathematician. McClintock-s scenes of 18th-century France are infused with a golden glow; numbers loom along city streets and burst from Germain-s quill pen. Bardoe concludes this warm biography by emphasizing how later mathematicians built upon Germain-s work -to build the Eiffel Tower in Paris and modern skyscrapers and lengthy bridges all over the world.- Ages 4-8. (June)
Word Count: 1,101
Reading Level: 5.3
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 195301 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:9.2 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q74988
Lexile: 1030L
Guided Reading Level: O

The true story of eighteenth-century mathematician Sophie Germain, who solved the unsolvable to achieve her dream.

When her parents took away her candles to keep their young daughter from studying math...nothing stopped Sophie. When a professor discovered that the homework sent to him under a male pen name came from a woman...nothing stopped Sophie. And when she tackled a math problem that male scholars said would be impossible to solve...still, nothing stopped Sophie.

For six years Sophie Germain used her love of math and her undeniable determination to test equations that would predict patterns of vibrations. She eventually became the first woman to win a grand prize from France's prestigious Academy of Sciences for her formula, which laid the groundwork for much of modern architecture (and can be seen in the book's illustrations).

Award-winning author Cheryl Bardoe's inspiring and poetic text is brought to life by acclaimed artist Barbara McClintock's intricate pen-and-ink, watercolor, and collage illustrations in this true story about a woman who let nothing stop her.


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