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Article  •  21 March 2024


Meet the characters from Lessons in Chemistry

Learn about a few of the major characters from Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

If you consider yourself a bookworm, odds are you’ve heard of Lessons in Chemistry.

With devoted fans around the world, the novel has fast become a favourite. And while there’s so much to love about the book (the humour, the dialogue), it’s the characters that have truly stolen readers’ hearts.

With each one having their unique personality traits, Bonnie Garmus’s characters jump off the page. Scroll on to meet a few of the major characters from the book including Elizabeth, Calvin and more.

Characters from Lessons in Chemistry

Elizabeth Zott

Elizabeth Zott is the protagonist of the novel. A sharp-witted chemist, her social position as a female scientist in the 1960s means that she is underestimated by the all-male research team at her workplace. When she’s forced to leave her job, Elizabeth finds a new way to communicate chemistry to other females across America . . . as a TV host on the cooking show, Supper at Six.

Smart, wry and highly admirable, Elizabeth Zott is unlike any main character you’ve ever read before.

Calvin Evans

Calvin is a fellow scientist at the research institute where Elizabeth works at the beginning of the novel. Though he is a prodigious chemist, he is unlike his peers in that he learns to see Zott as an equal despite her gender. Throughout the novel, Calvin becomes Elizabeth’s main love interest, though as the plot unfolds, readers discover that Lessons in Chemistry is not a story of pure, romantic bliss – but rather the hardships and tragedies we experience in love, and an exploration of how to navigate them.


Six-Thirty is Elizabeth and Calvin’s pet dog. When he follows Elizabeth home one day, the couple can’t help but take him in. Through passages narrated by the pet, readers will learn about Six-Thirty’s past as a failed bomb-sniffing dog, his gratitude for Elizabeth and Calvin and the unwavering loyalty of a pet.

Mad Zott

Mad Zott is Elizabeth’s daughter who, like her mother, is brilliant. Though she knows she’s different from other children, Mad does her best to fit in with her schoolmates. With Elizabeth – who is as great in the kitchen as she is in a lab – for a mother, Mad’s lunches far exceed those of her classmates. Elizabeth’s talent for cooking is a catalyst for her role on a cooking show when a girl at Mad’s school admits to her father (who happens to be a television producer) that she stole Mad’s lunches because they were so amazing.


Ready to start reading? Check out an extract, here!

Feature Title

Lessons in Chemistry
The 6-million-copy worldwide and Sunday Times #1 bestseller and award-winner featuring the uncompromising, unconventional Elizabeth Zott
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