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One long-ago Tuesday in early September, Jean Bullard walked into a classroom and started to teach grade 10 math and physics. Fresh from engineering school, this was the very last thing she'd imagined doing, but a family emergency had forced her to find a job in a very small town with a teacher shortage. Against her own expectations, she took to teaching like a bird to flight.
Emergency over, she left for the city, but found that highway design was no match for seeing students light up at the instant of understanding, and she soon headed back to high school. Her watershed moment came when her grade nine commercial-stream girls reached grade ten. Dismayed to find no science on their new timetable, they petitioned the principal, clamoring to be taught more of their favorite subject!
Now Bullard recognized her true gift: communicating the concepts of science and mathematics in easy-to-follow fashion. Her skill and enthusiasm were soon apparent to educational publishers.
Bullard was drawn to publishing because it offered the opportunity to reach many thousands of students a year, rather than one or two hundred. Her scientific expertise and authorial reputation have been acknowledged repeatedly, and she has published over twenty science textbooks, with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, and many titles still in use.
Working on these books stimulated her enthusiasm for the history of science. So often, the best path to understanding a concept lies in tracing its timeline. Thus, as she researched each topic, she steeped herself in the origins of scientific knowledge and discovery, always asking the same big questions. How do we know what we think we know? Who found out? When? Why?
Her intense curiosity and unrelenting capacity for research have given Bullard a head full of stories bursting to be told, stories about the intriguing yet little-sung scientific heroes and heroines who made our world what it is today.