At age nine, Robert Lutece informs his mother that he plans to become a scientist. She smoothes his hair back and kisses his forehead and tells him that he is the most intelligent boy in the world – that for him, nothing is impossible. The world is his oyster. For his birthday he receives a high-quality microscope and a bookshelf brimming with brand new science textbooks.
At age nine, Rosalind Lutece informs her mother that she plans to become a scientist. Her mother laughs and pats her on the shoulder – tells her that laboratories are hardly the place for a young lady like herself. Science is dangerous work, after all. Bold aspirations are unseemly. For her birthday she receives a new pair of shoes and a green ribbon for her hair, which she promptly throws in the garbage.
The only difference between them is a chromosome, Rosalind says. But a chromosome, it seems, can make all the difference in the world.”