One Step Sideways, Three Steps Forward: One Woman’s Path to Becoming a Biologist

Princeton Univ. Jun. 2024. 328p. ISBN 9780691260594. $29.95. MEMOIR
Grant (research scholar emerita, Princeton Univ.; 40 Years of Evolution) recounts her amazing accomplishments with humility and humor in this delightful memoir. Growing up in England’s Lakes District, Grant was surrounded by wildlife. Her village, Arnside, was near a tidal bore, and she quickly learned to read the tides and fell in love with the science that surrounded her. Like many women pursuing a career in the sciences, however, she faced numerous obstacles. Even her forward-thinking father believed that having a university career and a family were mutually exclusive. She met Peter Grant while teaching embryology in Canada. The two fell in love, married, and forged a rare partnership of making significant contributions to the field of evolutionary biology. Combining research with family life, Grant and her husband produced a landmark study of rapid evolution in the Galapagos that germinated from 40 years of research. Though she delayed her doctoral project while her husband actively pursued his, she eventually earned her PhD at age 49.
VERDICT The incredible not-to-miss story of an evolutionary scientist who combined her passion for science with her love and devotion to her family, the environment, and many social causes.
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