Cornell University

Book Information

Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory
Women Scientists Speak Out
Emily Monosson (Editor)

Cloth, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8014-4664-1
$ 32.95   £25.50
Paper, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-8014-7669-3
$ 17.95   £13.95

About half of the undergraduate and roughly 40 percent of graduate degree recipients in science and engineering are women. As increasing numbers of these women pursue research careers in science, many who choose to have children discover the unique difficulties of balancing a professional life in these highly competitive (and often male-dominated) fields with the demands of motherhood. Although this issue directly affects the career advancement of women scientists, it is rarely discussed as a professional concern, leaving individuals to face the dilemma on their own. To address this obvious but unacknowledged crisis-the elephant in the laboratory, according to one scientist-Emily Monosson, an independent toxicologist, has brought together 34 women scientists from overlapping generations and several fields of research-including physics, chemistry, geography, paleontology, and ecology, among others-to share their experiences. From women who began their careers in the 1970s and brought their newborns to work, breastfeeding them under ponchos, to graduate students today, the authors of the candid essays written for this groundbreaking volume reveal a range of career choices: the authors work part-time and full-time; they opt out and then opt back in; they become entrepreneurs and job share; they teach high school and have achieved tenure. The personal stories that comprise Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory not only show the many ways in which women can successfully combine motherhood and a career in science but also address and redefine what it means to be a successful scientist. These valuable narratives encourage institutions of higher education and scientific research to accommodate the needs of scientists who decide to have children. A. Pia Abola, biochemist, writer, and editor Caroline (Cal) Baier-Anderson, University of Maryland, Baltimore; Environmental Defense Joan S. Baizer, University at Buffalo Stefi Baum, Rochester Institute of Technology Aviva Brecher, U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts Teresa Capone Cook, American Heritage Academy Carol B. de Wet, Franklin and Marshall College Kimberly D'Anna, University of Wisconsin?Madison Anne Douglass, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Elizabeth Douglass, Scripps Institute of Oceanography Katherine Douglass, George Washington University Deborah Duffy, University of Pennsylvania Rebecca A. Efroymson, U.S. government research laboratory Suzanne Epstein, Food and Drug Administration Kim M. Fowler, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Debra Hanneman, Whitehall Geogroup, Inc. and Deborah Harris, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Andrea L. Kalfoglou, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Marla S. McIntosh, University of Maryland Marilyn Wilkey Merritt, George Washington University Emily Monosson, toxicologist and writer Heidi Newberg, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rachel Obbard, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, England Catherine O'Riordan, Consortium for Ocean Leadership Nanette J. Pazdernik, independent author and molecular biologist Devin Reese, National Science Resources Center Marie Remiker (pseudonym) Deborah Ross, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Christine Seroogy, University of Wisconsin-Madison Marguerite Toscano, independent geoscientist, writer, and editor Gina D. Wesley-Hunt, Montgomery College Theresa M. Wizemann, Merck and Co., Inc. Sofia Refetoff Zahed, University of Wisconsin-Madison Gayle Barbin Zydlewski, Cove Brook Watershed Council, Maine; University of Maine

About the Author
Emily Monosson is an independent toxicologist. She lives in Montague, Massachusetts. Visit her blog for Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory at

Subject Areas
Biography & Autobiography
Gender Studies
Sociology of Work