It is a rare breed of scientist who is both a leader in her field and a great writer, but Hope Jahren is both. A tenured professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Jahren has built a career and a reputation in science by unearthing secrets hidden in fossilized plant life. Her work has resulted in at least 70 studies in dozens of journals, but it’s also given her a platform—a megaphone, really—to talk about something else: widespread sexual harassment and discrimination in science. On her blog, in op-eds and in her new memoir, Lab Girl, which debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, Jahren wields her influence to call out a culture that has caused women to flee the field she so loves. That’s why she does it: she loves science. And whether she’s writing about lab funding, discrimination or deciduous trees, she has a way of making you love it too.
O’Connor is the editorial director for health at TIME