Recommended: Rocket Girl

Books and recommendations from Scientific American

Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America*amp*apos;s First Female Rocket Scientist
George D. Morgan
Prometheus Books, 2013 ($18)

Morgan tells the fascinating story of his mother, Mary Sherman, who had only a high school diploma yet helped the U.S. launch its first satellite during the cold war. Talented in science and math, Sherman dropped out of college when a top U.S. munitions maker offered her a job designing explosives during World War II. Determined to keep working after returning soldiers claimed women's jobs, she applied to North American Aviation, where she invented the rocket propellant hydyne. Morgan, who based Rocket Girl on a play he wrote about his mother, re-creates dialogue and adds other creative flourishes that may put off some nonfiction readers, but the touches make for a dramatic, suspenseful tale.

This article was originally published with the title "Rocket Girl."

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