The cover photo of the July 11 issue of Science has drawn concern and outrage from trans and human rights advocates this week.
Tina Fey about women and science.
Among STEM Ph.D. holders, women and black people are leaving the field in disproportionate numbers, finds a new study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The research uses data…
This cartoon can make a world of difference.
girls being kept out of the sciences and pushed into the humanities; the humanities being valued less in our society than the sciences; and the humanities and sciences being looked at as stark opposites that couldn’t possibly be enjoyed for the same reasons are all problems that need to in some degree be tackled together
MATH MYTHS: (from Mind over Math)
1. MEN ARE BETTER IN MATH THAN WOMEN.
Research has failed to show any difference between men and women in mathematical ability. Men are reluctant to admit they have problems so they express difficulty with math by saying, “I could do it if I tried.” Women are often too ready to admit inadequacy and say, “I just can’t do math.”
2. MATH REQUIRES LOGIC, NOT INTUITION.
Few people are aware that intuition is the cornerstone of doing math and solving problems. Mathematicians always think intuitively first. Everyone has mathematical intuition; they just have not learned to use or trust it. It is amazing how often the first idea you come up with turns out to be correct.
3. MATH IS NOT CREATIVE.
Creativity is as central to mathematics as it is to art, literature, and music. The act of creation involves diametrical opposites—working intensely and relaxing, the frustration of failure and elation of discovery, satisfaction of seeing all the pieces fit together. It requires imagination, intellect, intuition, and aesthetic about the rightness of things.
4. YOU MUST ALWAYS KNOW HOW YOU GOT THE ANSWER.
Getting the answer to a problem and knowing how the answer was derived are independent processes. If you are consistently right, then you know how to do the problem. There is no need to explain it.
5. THERE IS A BEST WAY TO DO MATH PROBLEMS.
A math problem may be solved by a variety of methods which express individuality and originality-but there is no best way. New and interesting techniques for doing all levels of mathematics, from arithmetic to calculus, have been discovered by students. The way math is done is very individual and personal and the best method is the one which you feel most comfortable.
6. IT’S ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO GET THE ANSWER EXACTLY RIGHT.
The ability to obtain approximate answer is often more important than getting exact answers. Feeling about the importance of the answer often are a reversion to early school years when arithmetic was taught as a feeling that you were “good” when you got the right answer and “bad” when you did not.
7. IT’S BAD TO COUNT ON YOUR FINGERS.
There is nothing wrong with counting on fingers as an aid to doing arithmetic. Counting on fingers actually indicates an understanding of arithmetic-more understanding than if everything were memorized.
8. MATHEMATICIANS DO PROBLEMS QUICKLY, IN THEIR HEADS.
Solving new problems or learning new material is always difficult and time consuming. The only problems mathematicians do quickly are those they have solved before. Speed is not a measure of ability. It is the result of experience and practice.
9. MATH REQUIRES A GOOD MEMORY.
Knowing math means that concepts make sense to you and rules and formulas seem natural. This kind of knowledge cannot be gained through rote memorization.
10. MATH IS DONE BY WORKING INTENSELY UNTIL THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED. Solving problems requires both resting and working intensely. Going away from a problem and later returning to it allows your mind time to assimilate ideas and develop new ones. Often, upon coming back to a problem a new insight is experienced which unlocks the solution.
11. SOME PEOPLE HAVE A “MATH MIND” AND SOME DON’T.
Belief in myths about how math is done leads to a complete lack of self-confidence. But it is self-confidence that is one of the most important determining factors in mathematical performance. We have yet to encounter anyone who could not attain his or her goals once the emotional blocks were removed.
12. THERE IS A MAGIC KEY TO DOING MATH.
There is no formula, rule, or general guideline which will suddenly unlock the mysteries of math. If there is a key to doing math, it is in overcoming anxiety about the subject and in using the same skills you use to do everything else.
Source: “Mind Over Math,” McGraw-Hill Book Company, pp. 30-43.
Revised: Summer 1999
Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC)
Southwest Texas State University
Teen scientist harnesses sun power to help Navajo community
New Mexico teen Raquel Redshirt uses everyday materials and the sun to build solar ovens, fulfilling a Navajo community need and winning an award at the Intel ISEF competition.
Growing up on New Mexico’s Navajo Nation, Raquel Redshirt was well aware of the needs of her community. Many of her impoverished neighbors lacked basics such as electricity, as well as stoves and ovens to cook food.
Though resources in the high desert are limited, Raquel realized one was inexhaustible: the sun. “That’s where I got the idea of building a solar oven,” the teen says.
She researched solar ovens and found that most incorporate mirrors or other expensive materials. Raquel wanted to create a design that anyone could easily afford and replicate, using readily available materials.
GO NEW MEXICO! GO NAVAJO NATION! GO BRILLIANT TEENAGE GIRLS!
It has to be said, teenage girls are kind of killing it right now!
- Was a musical prodigy who started piano lessons at six and had composed her first classical work at age ten
- Built her own computer at age 14 in 1953, before most people knew what a computer was, and won a scholarship for it
- Helped Dr. Robert Moog work on his earlier synthesizers, providing technical assistance and convincing him to give the Moog synthesizer touch sensitivity
- Her breakthrough album, Switched on Bach, won four Grammy awards, started a craze for synthesized music, and remained on the Billboard Classical Album top 200 chart for over a year
- Composed music for the movies A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and the original Tron
- Collaborated with “Weird Al” Yankovich on a parody of Peter and the Wolf centred around the importance of oral hygeine
- In case this wasn’t enough, she is also an accomplished solar eclipse photographer
Estella Atekwana grew up in Cameroon. “My parents very much wanted me to do medicine,” she writes.
“So I got into sciences with that intention. However, I took a course in geology in high school and the teacher indicated that geology was not for girls. I was challenged then to demonstrate that girls could do geology and perform the same as boys or even better. I ended up with the science award that year in chemistry, biology, and geology.”
Image 1: Professor Estella Atekwana teaches Potential Field Methods at Oklahoma State University via Training Tomorrow’s Geoscientists
Image 2: University of Oklahoma seismologist Katie Keranen and Oklahoma State University geophysicist Estella Atekwana install a seismometer following a series of earlier quakes. (Shannon Dulin) via Fracking Spurred Biggest Earthquake Yet
She moved to North America to study the geosciences, earning a bachelor’s and master’s in geology from Howard University and a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in Canada. “Today, they call me Doctor and that’s fine with my parents.”
She is now Sun Chair at Oklahoma State University, where she is a leader in the new field of biogeophysics [Biogeophysics is a subdiscipline of geophysics concerned with how plants, microbial activity and other organisms alter geologic materials and affect geophysical signatures.].