Author of numerous books, including Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries; Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World; Iron: Nature's Universal Element; and The Theory That Would Not Die.
Hardcover • $27.50
Bayes' rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok.
In the first-ever account of Bayes' rule for general readers, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it. She traces its discovery by an amateur mathematician in the 1740s through its development into roughly its modern form by French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace. She reveals why respected statisticians rendered it professionally taboo for 150 years—at the same time that practitioners relied on it to solve crises involving great uncertainty and scanty information, even breaking Germany's Enigma code during World War II, and explains how the advent of off-the-shelf computer technology in the 1980s proved to be a game-changer. Today, Bayes' rule is used everywhere from DNA de-coding to Homeland Security. Drawing on primary source material and interviews with statisticians and other scientists, The Theory That Would Not Die is the riveting account of how a seemingly simple theorem ignited one of the greatest controversies of all time.
Paperback • $19.95
In Nobel Prize Women in Science, Sharon McGrayne explores the reason for this astonishing disparity. She does so by examining the lives and achievements of fourteen women scientists who either won a Nobel Prize or played a crucial role in a Nobel Prize-winning project. It tells the dramatic stories of the relentless discrimination these women faced in universities, both as studenst seeking a scientific education and as researchers who wish to make their careers in scientific study and discovery. Their accomplishments were due to two factors: they were in love with science itself and were passionately determined to succeed.
"Written in accessible language, free of esoteric jargon, McGrayne's narrative captures the excitement involved in the pursuit of ground-breaking research and the passionate dedication that leads to discovery."
- Scientific American
"What's gratifying is that McGrayne neither preaches nor screeches but allows the facts – documented in interviews with and in records of the women – to speak for themselves."
- Kirkus Review