Not all scientists wear white lab coats. From space to the ocean, scientists’ work—and even their lives—can depend on what they wear whether it’s a polar parka, spacesuit, waterproof waders, hard hat, lab gloves, swim fins or camouflage. In her new STEM book Scientists Get Dressed (September 2019, Persnickety Press/WunderMill Books), Deborah Lee Rose explores how scientists suit up, gown up, gear up and dress up in costume to make new scientific discoveries, save lives and save our planet.
Scientists Get Dressed zooms in on why scientists wear such different clothing to to test snow and ice on a frozen glacier or collect hot lava from a burning volcano, perform a spacewalk or swim with whale sharks, rescue a wild Bald Eagle or operate on a human brain. Through stunning and engaging “you are there” photos paired with fun-fact filled text, young readers meet real scientists and discover the challenges of what these scientists do, how they do it and why it matters.
Australian glaciologist Adrian McCallum, lecturer in geotechnical engineering at Queensland’s University of the Sunshine Coast, is one of the scientists who inspired the book and is prominently featured.
“You don’t have to be in a white coat in a lab to be engaged in science or engineering—you can achieve whatever you want to in these fields,” says McCallum, who is also a meteorologist, oceanographer, polar engineer and adventure STEM advocate. His work has taken him to the world’s most remote regions including the Arctic, Antarctica and the Himalyas.
Scientists Get Dressed spotlights a diversity of scientists dressed for their jobs from research lab to rocky desert, from sunlit forest canopy to dark bat caves, from buzzing beehives to beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
“Kids of all ages love to role play by dressing up,” says Rose, who is also the award-winning author of Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue about the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, New South Wales. “Through the unique lens of what scientists wear, including many photos never published before, Scientists Get Dressed can inspire and encourage kids to explore STEM in new ways, and to imagine themselves getting dressed for exciting, important work.”
The book also includes information from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology about how kids can get involved in citizen science projects worldwide, including Radio Galaxy Zoo started by two Australian scientists. A full Scientists’ Glove Challenge STEM activity for all ages, partly inspired by Adrian McCallum’s polar mittens, uses easy to obtain, inexpensive materials like dishwashing gloves, oven mitts and a measuring tape to help learners experience hands-on (gloves-on) how important scientists’ clothing and tools are.