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The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist

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Paul Boehmer

4 Hours 47 Minutes

HighBridge Company

September 2018

Audio Book Summary

Ben Barres was known for his groundbreaking scientific work and for his groundbreaking advocacy for gender equality in science. In this book, completed shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer in December 2017, Barres (born Barbara Barres in 1954) describes a life full of remarkable accomplishments-from his childhood as a precocious math and science whiz to his experiences as a female student at MIT in the 1970s to his female-to-male transition in his forties, to his scientific work and role as teacher and mentor at Stanford. Barres recounts his early life-his interest in science, first manifested as a fascination with the mad scientist in Superman; his academic successes; and his gender confusion. Barres felt even as a very young child that he was assigned the wrong gender. After years of being acutely uncomfortable in his own skin, Barres transitioned from female to male.

As an undergraduate at MIT, Barres experienced discrimination, but it was after transitioning that he realized how differently male and female scientists are treated. This led him to become an advocate for gender equality in science.

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