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Lab Girl

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

By Hope Jahren

A Delightfully Unique Memoir of a Woman of Science



Hope Jahren practically grew up in her father’s laboratory. She is now an award-winning scientist pursuing research on trees, flowers, seeds and soil since 1996. Lab Girl is Hope’s life story and as well as a tribute to the plants and trees that have piqued her curiosity over the years.

Hope introduces us to Bill, her long time and eccentric lab partner, who has been with her ever since she completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkley. Bill assisted by helping her build three different labs, one at Georgia Institute of Technology, one at John Hopkins University and the third at the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu. She is now holds a Professorship at the University of Oslo, Norway.

“My true potential has more to do with my willingness to struggle than with my past and present circumstances.“

“People don't know to make a leaf, but they know how to destroy one.”


Lab Girl is a delightfully unique memoir of Hope Jehren, a woman of science. Her story is creatively told in three parts representing the different phases of her life; her roots and leaves, her wood and knots and her flowers and fruit. Within each part, chapters alternate between her life story and her research story.

Jahren reveals the struggles and roadblocks she encountered as a female scientist. It’s a poignant, thoughtful and moving chronicle of dedication and perseverance. Jahren recalls being told that because she was a women she couldn’t be a scientist, but she did it anyway.

Her stories are highly entertaining and amuzing. Written from the heart, Lab Girl is both lyrical and honest. Anyone who has ever looked at a tree in wonder or amazement will appreciate this book.

“Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life. It has also convinced me that carefully writing everything down is the only real defense we have against forgetting something important that once was and is no more, including the spruce tree that should have outlived me but did not.”

Publisher Vintage Books

Published April 5, 2016

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