june, 2022

23jun7:00 pm9:00 pmRachel Pastan & Weike Wang (In Person)7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Event Details

Mechanics’ Hall and the National Book Foundation present Science + Literature: The Gender Disparity, an author reading & conversation with Rachel Pastan and Weike Wang.

Tickets are free, but please reserve your spot in advance here: REGISTER NOW

The National Book Foundation joins Mechanics’ Hall to celebrate the inaugural year of Science + Literature. The program identifies three books annually that deepen readers’ understanding of science and technology, and focuses on elevating the diversity of voices in contemporary science and technology writing. The three inaugural titles—all authored by women—include a memoir, a collection of essays and poetry, and a novel. Read more about Science + Literature here.

At Mechanics’ Hall we’ll focus on In the Field by Rachel Pastan, which tells the story of a female geneticist––an outsider in her pursuits, and sexuality––in the mid-twentieth century, inspired by the life of Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock. Join Rachel Pastan in conversation with author and 5 Under 35 Honoree Weike Wang (Chemistry; Joan Is Okay) on the intersection of science and literature.

Science + Literature is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Books will be available for purchase on-site thanks to Print: A Bookstore.

About the Book:


“In vivid, well-crafted prose, Rachel Pastan’s novel In the Field brings us into the professional and private life of a dedicated female geneticist, born in the 1920s, whose challenges and sacrifices illustrate how science, far from being impersonal, is practiced by people—how the pursuit of knowledge is shaped by the social norms and preconceptions that limit our behavior as individuals, and delay the acceptance of new ideas by the scientific community.”


In 1923, having persuaded her resistant mother to send her to college, Kate Croft falls in love with science. Painfully rebuffed by a girl she longs for, and in flight from her own confusing sexuality, Kate finds refuge in the calm rationality of biology: its vision of a deeply interconnected world, and the promise that the new field of genetics can explain the way people are.

But science, too, turns out to be marred by human weakness. Despite her hard work and extraordinary gifts, Kate struggles, facing discrimination, competition, and scientific theft. At the same time, a love affair is threatened by Kate’s obsession with figuring out the meaning of the puzzling changes she sees in her experiments. The novel explores what it takes to triumph in the ruthless world of mid-20th-century genetics, following Kate as she decides what she is—and is not—willing to sacrifice to succeed.


Rachel Pastan is the author of four novels, most recently In the Field. Her previous novel, Alena, was named an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. The daughter of a molecular geneticist and a poet, she has worked as editor-at-large at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and taught fiction writing at the Bennington Writing Seminars, Swarthmore College, and elsewhere.

Weike Wang is the author of Chemistry and Joan Is Okay. She is the recipient of the 2018 PEN/Hemingway Award, a Whiting Award, and is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares and The New Yorker, among other publications. She is in the Best American Short Stories 2019 and The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019. She earned an MFA from Boston University, and a bachelor’s in chemistry and doctorate in epidemiology from Harvard University. She currently lives in New York City and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, Barnard College, and Columbia University.

Please note our in-person Covid-19 safety policies:

To ensure the safety of our staff, guests, and community, and under the direction of our Board, Mechanics’ Hall requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (or an appropriately time-stamped negative COVID-19 test) for all persons attending our events until further notice. All persons must masked for the duration of their time in the Hall, regardless of vaccination status in accordance with our current Masking Policies. This decision was made to help keep our community safe and our doors open.

All attendees must either:

  • Present a physical copy or a photo of their COVID-19 vaccine card along with a valid photo ID (state, government, or school ID); or
  • Provide a time-stamped printout, photo, or email of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of the event or a negative Rapid Antigen Test taken within 36 hours of the event, along with a valid photo ID (state, government, or school ID).


(Thursday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

No Comments

Post A Comment