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Thursday, 18 May 2023

"Science Stars" book for children celebrates Spanish female scientists: Prof. Laura Lechuga among them

by Virginia Greco

Written by scientist and author María José Rodríguez and published by Apadrina La Ciencia, this fun and interactive book presents the remarkable work of six Spanish female scientists in a language and format very attractive for young readers.

A captivating publication combining fun, rhyme, and interactive content, “Science Stars” is meant to engage young readers while shedding light on the remarkable work of six contemporary Spanish female scientists who are shaping the future. The author María José Rodríguez, a scientist and writer, took on this challenge and collaborated with the talented Mamen Marcén who beautifully illustrated the book. One of the scientists portrayed in this book is Prof. Laura Lechuga, leader of the NanoBiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group at the ICN2, author of many important publications in biosensing and recipients of numerous awards.

"Science Stars" aims to inspire children while raising funds for research projects in Spain. It is published by Apadrina La Ciencia, a group of dedicated scientists committed to promoting scientific knowledge and supporting research projects. All proceeds from the book sales will be directed towards scientific investigations, making it a truly charitable initiative.

What sets this book apart is its engaging and interactive nature. Not only does it rhyme, making it enjoyable for children, but it also includes a rap, a music video, and interviews with each of the six scientists, specially crafted to captivate young minds. The rap, titled "Estrellas Científicas - Apadrina la Ciencia," composed by Mario Otero from Brócoli Duendes, can be accessed via a QR code included in the book. Likewise, the music video of the rap, expertly edited by Amaia Del Campo from Cuentos en la Nube, can be enjoyed through another QR code. Additionally, the book features six more QR codes, each leading to a short interview with one of the scientists, realised by Alejandro Novo to be easily understood and enjoyed by children.

"Science Stars" opens with a brief prologue where Carmen Simón, president of Apadrina La Ciencia, Inés Antón, vice president of the association, and María José Rodríguez share their experiences and dreams as female scientists with the young readers. Each subsequent chapter introduces a different Spanish scientist, providing insights into their birthplace, childhood aspirations, and a glimpse into their research. The six female scientists featured in the book, coming from different fields of study, are:

Margarita Salas: A biochemist who obtained a degree in chemical sciences and conducted groundbreaking research alongside her husband, Eladio Viñuela, and the renowned scientist Severo Ochoa in the United States.

Elena García Armada: An industrial engineer and the founder and president of Marsi Bionics, a technology-based company that has developed the world's first exoskeleton for children with neuromuscular pathologies and cerebral palsy.

Carmen Caffarel: A linguistics doctor and professor of audiovisual communication, who served as the director-general of RTVE (Spanish Radio and Television Corporation) from 2004 to 2007 and as the director of the Cervantes Institute from 2007 to 2012.

María Mittelbrunn: A biologist and principal investigator at the Immunometabolism and Inflammation Laboratory in the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center and associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Laura Lechuga: A chemist and research professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and leader of the Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications group at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) in Barcelona.

Susanna Manrubia: A physicist currently serving as a research professor at the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB) and leading the Systems Evolution Group.

The book concludes with inspiring phrases and a section called "Scientific Pills", where one or two concepts mentioned in the chapters are explained in accessible language, accompanied by relatable examples for children. The volume is now available for purchase, offering an opportunity to engage young readers in the world of science through captivating stories and interactive content.