Lab Girl, a book written by scientist Hope Jahren, has been selected as the University of Delaware’s 2018 First Year Common Reader.
The First Year Common Reader is read by UD’s first year students, providing a unique opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful conversation with fellow students and to begin to share in the intellectual life of the entire UD community. The book is to be read before arriving on campus with speakers, films and other cultural events organized around the theme of the book throughout the first semester.
In her memoir, Lab Girl, Hope Jahren describes her life and the knowledge she has gained as a scientist trying to find her way in the world. Focusing on a period of professional development that stretches from 1988 to 2012, the bulk of the narrative follows Jahren from her first years in college at the University of Minnesota to a tenured professor job at the University of Hawaii. Navigating personal and professional challenges, Jahren and her eccentric lab manager, Bill, learn to accept themselves, each other, and the joy that comes from researching the mysterious lives of plants.
Jahren is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996, when she completed her doctorate at University of California Berkeley and began teaching and researching first at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then at Johns Hopkins University.
Jahren is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given within the Earth Sciences. She was a tenured professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu from 2008 to 2016, where she built the Isotope Geobiology Laboratories, with support from National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. She currently holds the J. Tuzo Wilson professorship at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Previous common readers have included:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, When the Emperor was Divine, by Julie Otsuka, Equal Justice, by Bryan Stevenson; Thank You for Your Service, by David Finkel; My Beloved World, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo; and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.
For more information on the Common Reader, visit the website.