The primary focus of Laura Hoopes's Breaking through the Spiral Ceiling is narration of her struggle as a woman in science in the 20th century, before, as she says, "men were ready for women in science." Hoopes's career as in biochemical genetics takes her to Goucher College, the Marine Biological Laboratories, Yale University, and Occidental College. Hoopes narrates her progression from the discovery of her passion for cell biology, biochemistry, and "the thrill of research," the refining of her approach to scientific questions, Ph.D. qualifying exams and graduate research, to her role as a researcher, professor, and mentor in her own right. Hoopes also explores the tension between the roles of research scientist, wife, and mother as she describes her two marriages (the first, a mixed-race marriage, ending in the tragic death of her young husband) and motherhood to a son...

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