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.
“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, Revewers 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