Two years ago I was nominated for a Suffrage Science award. This was and is a terrific honour – Suffrage Science awards are given to women who have contributed to science (including writing about science). The biologist and author Dr Jenny Rohn nominated me and I received a lovely brooch (which I never to dared to wear in case I lost it), and now it is my turn to pass on the brooch. So today I nominate Susan M. Gaines for her brilliant writing about science.
I met Susan when I was a writer-in-residence at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg on the humanities research ‘fiction meets science‘ program instigated by her. This innovative program not only supports writers, but also carries out academic research into the ways in which fiction investigates science. Susan is also an accomplished author herself: her 2000 novel, Carbon Dreams, was something of a cult hit with female graduate students, as it features two generations of female marine scientists and integrates actual scientific theories and an original research project into its plot and themes. Her 2009 book Echoes of Life: What Fossil Molecules Reveal About Earth History employs narrative and literary prose in a factual account of scientific research that makes readers feel “privy to the evolving drama of the biochemical discoveries,” and she has just completed a new novel which again features a female scientist character and a realistic research project (this time in the field of microbial ecology).