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Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Diagrams
Class set order code: 7053S
Florence Nightingale is known for her revolutionary impact on medicine. But what most people don’t know is that she also invented an array of circular diagrams and bar charts to explain her research on disease and death rates. The “Lady with the Lamp” can also be credited as the “Lady with the Diagrams” for pioneering a way for mathematicians and statisticians to present bare facts as intelligible truths.
Florence Nightingale is known for her revolutionary impact on medicine. She transformed the hospital system and dramatically reduced the death rate from infection and disease. She reformed the nursing profession from a job fitted only for women of low repute to one that employed dedicated, educated women who wanted a career in nursing. She was known internationally as the woman with the lantern who visited sick and wounded soldiers at night to soothe and comfort them.
But what most people don’t know is that Nightingale’s influence went far beyond the medical profession. In an effort to make the results of her research on disease and death rates accessible to people, she began creating diagrams—visual tools to allow people to see beyond the simple numbers they were reading in order to understand the true nature of what those numbers conveyed. She invented an array of circular diagrams and bar charts, many of which are still in use today or which have evolved to become commonplace to our modern eyes. The “Lady with the Lamp” can also be credited as the “Lady with the Diagrams” for her work in pioneering a way for mathematicians and statisticians to present bare facts as intelligible truths.
There’s a “Doing the Math” section at the end of the book so that readers can try working out the math themselves!
“Part of the Royal Fireworks Press biographical series Mathematical Lives, Robert Black’s Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Diagrams is exceptionally well written, organized, and presented, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, school, and community library collections. Also very highly recommended in this simply outstanding series is Robert Black’s Pascal and Fermat: The Probability Pen Pals.” – Susan Bethany, Reviewers Bookwatch
“…impressively informative and unreservedly recommended…” – Midwest Book Review
“This biography reads like a novel of the 18th century and gives insight into the precedents that impact us, from Excel charts to epidemiology.” – Deb McQuilkin, DNP, Clinical Associate Professor, University of South Carolina College of Nursing
“The math content of this book, just like in all the other books in the series, is distributed among many chapters, showing up in digestible chunks. Some of this content is directly related to what Florence herself did, and some of it is provided as background for the reader to understand how her work fits in with the main history of the development of the field. All in all, the reader gains a solid understanding of the life and times of Florence Nightingale, as well as her significant mathematical contributions, all within about a hundred pages. The book, just like all the other books in the series, concludes with an appendix titled ‘Doing the Math,’ where the author offers some concrete problems for the interested readers to play with and take their understanding further.” – Sprinkles’ Reviews, Book Bunnies Blog (click here to read the full review)