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Rachel Ignotofsky

New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator of Women in Science

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  • About Rachel Ignotofsky

    Rachel Ignotofsky is the New York Times-bestselling author of Women in Science and Women in Sports. Drawing on her graphic design background, she creates playful illustrations and infographics that educate, entertain, and shed light on underrecognized women throughout history.

    In 2015, Ignotofsky decided to quit her day job and follow her dreams by creating educational artwork promoting scientific literacy and historical inclusivity. Her first book, Women in Science, was a New York Times bestseller that highlighted the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contained infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. Her second book, Women in Sports, covered the achievements and stories of fifty female athletes from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than forty sports, from Billie Jean King to Simone Biles.

    Ignotofsky’s forthcoming book, The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth (September 2018), is a beautifully illustrated tour of our planet that reveals ecosystems large and small, from reefs, deserts, and rainforests to ponds, backyard gardens, and even a drop of water. Through exquisite drawings, maps, and infographics, she makes earth science accessible and entertaining, explaining how our planet works, from its diverse ecosystems and their inhabitants to the levels of ecology, the importance of biodiversity, the carbon cycle, weather cycles, and more.

    Ignotofsky knows that illustration is a powerful tool that can make learning exciting. In her engaging talks and presentations, she demonstrates how combining art and science can make even the most intimidating subjects approachable. A strong advocate for women in STEM fields, Ignotofsky also explains how representation and narratives can empower young women to follow their passions.

    Ignotofsky grew up in New Jersey on a healthy diet of cartoons and pudding. She graduated from Tyler School of Art’s Graphic Design in 2011, and is now based in Los Angeles, California.

  • Speaking Topics

    Inspiring Girls to Embrace STEM

    Women throughout history have contributed greatly to science, mathematics, and engineering, but have not always received the recognition they deserve. Ignotofsky created Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World to celebrate these women's accomplishments while introducing boys and girls to new female role models. This presentation will tell the often unknown stories of amazing female scientists and how each significantly changed their fields, in spite of considerable prejudices. She looks at the statistics showing the gender gap in STEM fields today and explains how representation and narratives can empower young women to follow their passions. Ignotofsky also addresses the process of using illustration to make dense information fun and accessible for her bestselling books.

    The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth

    One of the largest problems we face is global warming, but there is a basic lack of understanding around the science of the issue. How do we get non-science professionals to become more scientifically literate? Learning something new and complicated can be daunting, or even scary—but illustrations can help! Ignotofsky believes something as inviting as a happy face can make science accessible for even the most reluctant audiences. In her new book, The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth, she uses her skills to teach about our world’s ecosystems. In this talk, Ignotofsky explains how whimsical art, graphic design and imaginative storytelling are all important tools to teach STEM subjects. Ignotofsky will also discuss an overview of Planet Earth. She will explain Earth's ecological benefits, the impacts of climate change, and how we can use effective science communication to protect our planet.

  • Video

    New York Times Live Illustration: Rachel Ignotofsky

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    Live Illustration: Rachel Ignotofsky

    Rachel Ignotofsky is the author and illustrator of "Women in Science," a middle school book that has spent many weeks on The Times's Bestseller List. She joins us to draw some amazing women scientists and talk with NYT editor Maria Russo about how she found the sweet spot of science, art and children's books. Comment with your questions, and Maria will ask some.

    Posted by The New York Times on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

  • Praise for Rachel Ignotofsky

    Praise for Women in Sports

    Exhaustive and enlightening—don’t miss it.

    Kirkus Reviews

    This is one of the books we’ve been waiting for—a compendium of great women athletes and the struggles they faced. As Billie Jean King taught us, ‘Pressure is a privilege.’

    Lesley Visser, Hall of Fame sportscaster

    This luminescent book tells the stories of women and girls who have not only excelled in athletics, but also often changed the world by doing so. I was agog at these lively biographies, and dazzled by the accompanying illustrations that seem to cartwheel, swim, pole vault, and double flip off the page. This is a book for girls who want inspiration on the field, in the pool, or down the track. It’s also for girls who aren’t sporty at all, but love stories of courage, perseverance, sass, doggedness, and fun. And don’t forget the boys, who will be riveted by these rollicking tales and who need to see that girl power has been alive and well for many years, and is alive and well today.

    Caroline Paul, author of The Gutsy Girl

    Rachel Ignotofsky’s delightful book renders the healthy pleasure of sports for girls and women in buoyant color and form—from Bloomer Girls to Skate Bettys, in calf length skirts or disguised as men—reminding us that no matter if you are nine or ninety-eight, the question to ask is, ‘What is my next victory?’

    Mina Samuels, author of Run Like a Girl

    What an inspiring book! These beautifully drawn portraits cover the triumphs and troubles of fifty athletes—some you’ve heard of and many you haven’t. There’s a familiar pattern to these stories: A woman sets her mind on something, someone tells her it can’t be done, and she goes ahead and does it anyway, setting records along the way. You’ll cheer for these ladies, and for author Rachel Ignotofsky.

    Lisa Taggart, author of Women Who Win

    Praise for Women in Science

    In this wittily illustrated, accessible volume, Rachel Ignotofsky highlights 50 women who changed the course of science.

    Wall Street Journal

    With the help of eye-catching artwork, Ignotofsky celebrates not just astronauts, but also the engineers, biologists, mathematicians, and physicists who’ve blazed a trail for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields from the ancient to modern world. The book elevates this information with beautiful and instructive infographics that delve into topics like the number of women currently working in STEM fields.

    Entertainment Weekly (online)

    With short, inspiring stories and the accessibility of a graphic novel. . .the perfect book to share with the science- and tech-minded people (male and female, young and old) in your life. . . .The must-read, girl-power STEM book.

    InStyle.com

    This book of illustrated biographies of scientific pioneers is hands-down gorgeous. . . .Kids will love paging through this, looking at all the detailed drawings, but they’ll likely have to rip it out of the hands of the adults who are marveling at each new page of factoids.

    Sarah Mirk, Bitch Media

    The book is a beautifully curated collection of personal narratives from female scientists from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, with a dash of whimsy thrown in.

    Upworthy

    I applaud Ignotofsky and her publisher for telling these important stories about women through such a rich, visual medium. The world needs more books like this.

    ScientificAmerican.com’s Symbiartic

    . . .an illustrated homage to some of the most influential and inspiring women in STEM. . . .Ignotofsky captures the heartbreaking inequalities that only amplify the impressiveness of these women’s feats.

    Maria Popova, BrainPickings.org

    . . .a clever introduction to women scientists through history.

    Science Friday

    True fact: This book is so cool that I had to go steal it back from my fifth-grade daughter to review it. . . .this book perfectly balances well-researched facts with gorgeous, whimsical illustrations making it a favorite you just can’t put down.”

    Cool Mom Picks

    If there were constellations celebrating the incredible accomplishments of women in science, Rachel Ignotofsky’s illustrations would serve as the blueprints. As Ignotofsky floats NASA computer programmer and mathematician Annie Easley amid rockets and stars, surrounds Higgs boson discoverer Sau Lan Wu with particles, and cradles Barbara McClintock with corn and chromosomes, she anchors her dreamy depictions into our brains. Women in Science captures the joy of so many essential discoveries while also celebrating the extraordinary lives of the women who’ve achieved them.

    Rachel Swaby, author of Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World

    I wish I had a daughter so I could give her a copy of Rachel Ignotofsky’s lovingly illustrated Women in Science. In addition to Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Ada Lovelace, the book profiles dozens of less familiar female scientists—African American, Asian, Jewish, Russian, French, in stylish dresses, lab coats, trousers, spacesuits, shorts—whose accomplishments in astronomy, physics, mathematics, biology, psychology, and computer science came as news even to me. Ignotofsky provides young women with the courage and confidence to follow the exciting paths these pioneers have blazed before them.

    Eileen Pollack, author of The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club

    Women in Science is a comprehensive and stunningly illustrated tribute to brilliant female minds. Through real stories of perseverance and passion, Rachel Ignotofsky affirms the important role of women in shaping humankind’s scientific journey. The book offers the next generation of young women a diverse set of relatable and enormously inspiring role models.

    Lisa Congdon, illustrator and author

    In Rachel Ignotofsky’s edifying and inspiring book we meet some of history’s most remarkable women. Each profile contains extraordinary stories of obstacles and achievements. The drawings float on the pages’ dark backgrounds, making each figure appear to hover in the sky like a constellation. That’s what the reader is doing in this book: stargazing.

    Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive and Thunder & Lightning

    Paired with her delightfully whimsical drawings, the concise and accessible profiles of women scientists in Rachel Ignotofsky’s book reveal the setbacks faced by women in male-dominated scientific careers and show how these women cared deeply about making the world—and the world of science—a more equal place. With its enthusiastic tone and its colorful layout, this inviting introduction to women in science urges its readers to take advantage of their education and to participate in scientific discoveries of their own.

    Rory Dicker, author of A History of U.S. Feminisms

    This charming encyclopedia includes a page of text and a fanciful drawing of the women scientists you’ve heard of — and plenty who you haven’t! The book has good coverage of the 1800s and early 1900s — a critical time when women’s expanding participation in science was changing the very structure of how knowledge is pursued.  Interspersed with gems like a colorful timeline of women’s achievements, and a cartoon celebrating a wonderful hoard of lab supplies, Ignotofsky’s profiles of diverse female scientists is a great addition to the shelf of any student, of any age.

    Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl, for The Fader
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