Women in science

A blog for and about women in the sciences

2,750 notes

biomedicalephemera:

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker’s pocket surgical kit

Dr. Walker was the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army, serving during the Civil War.

She was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1865 by President Johnson, and remains the only woman to have ever won it, to this date. Interestingly, this high honor was awarded to her (and even had a bill passed in order to make her eligible) in order to recognize her service to the country…while making sure that she didn’t receive an army commission in retirement.

Indeed, she made less as a pensioner than the widows of most officers did, but she saw the greater honor of her Medal, wearing it every day until her death in 1917.

Walker also campaigned as an abolitionist (prior to the war), prohibitionist, and an advocate for dress reform, citing women’s clothing as “immodest and unwieldy”. She was arrested several times in the late 1800s for “impersonating a man”, because of her trousers and top hat.

(via womenrockscience)

1,801 notes

womenrockscience:

Meet Mary Sherman Morgan, rocket scientist, munitions and chemical engineer and one of the most instrumental players in the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer I (shown above). According to her colleagues she “single-handedly saved America’s space programme”.
Mary started out life as a poor farm girl in North Dakota, her parents chose not to educate her by choice so that she could work on the farm. Eventually, she managed to graduate high school and then ran away from home to go to college and study chemical engineering.
During her studies, WWII broke out and there was a shortage of chemists in the country. Mary was offered a “Top Secret” job at a factory and had to accept without being told what the factory made or what her job would be. It turned out it was a munitions factory – Mary was put in charge of the manufacture of 3 different types of explosive. In her tenure the factory produced over 1 billion pounds of ordnance for WWII.
With the war behind her and after graduating her degree she started working for Rocketdyne under Dr Silverman. In the 1950’s the US was in a race to launch its first satellite into space. American rockets were just not successful, they either couldn’t accelerate to the necessary speed or would blow up on the launch pad. Out of dozens of other engineers Dr Silverman put Mary in charge of solving this problem. She invented Hydyne, a brand new and powerful liquid fuel. In 1958 Explorer I was successfully launched into space using Jupiter-C rockets powered by Hydyne fuel.
Shortly after this success, Mary left the world of work to become a stay at home mum. Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person - she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme.  It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. “Mary single-handedly saved America’s space programme” he said “and nobody knows but a handful of old men”
Sources: Sherman-Morgan, BBC

womenrockscience:

Meet Mary Sherman Morgan, rocket scientist, munitions and chemical engineer and one of the most instrumental players in the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer I (shown above). According to her colleagues she “single-handedly saved America’s space programme”.

Mary started out life as a poor farm girl in North Dakota, her parents chose not to educate her by choice so that she could work on the farm. Eventually, she managed to graduate high school and then ran away from home to go to college and study chemical engineering.

During her studies, WWII broke out and there was a shortage of chemists in the country. Mary was offered a “Top Secret” job at a factory and had to accept without being told what the factory made or what her job would be. It turned out it was a munitions factory – Mary was put in charge of the manufacture of 3 different types of explosive. In her tenure the factory produced over 1 billion pounds of ordnance for WWII.

With the war behind her and after graduating her degree she started working for Rocketdyne under Dr Silverman. In the 1950’s the US was in a race to launch its first satellite into space. American rockets were just not successful, they either couldn’t accelerate to the necessary speed or would blow up on the launch pad. Out of dozens of other engineers Dr Silverman put Mary in charge of solving this problem. She invented Hydyne, a brand new and powerful liquid fuel. In 1958 Explorer I was successfully launched into space using Jupiter-C rockets powered by Hydyne fuel.

Shortly after this success, Mary left the world of work to become a stay at home mum. Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person - she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme.  It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. “Mary single-handedly saved America’s space programme” he said “and nobody knows but a handful of old men”

Sources: Sherman-Morgan, BBC

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blackchildrensbooksandauthors:

African-American Women Chemists
Jeannette E. Brown
This book profiles the lives of numerous women, ranging from the earliest pioneers up until the late 1960’s when the Civil Rights Acts sparked greater career opportunities. Brown examines each woman’s motivation to pursue chemistry, describes their struggles to obtain an education and their efforts to succeed in a field in which there were few African American men, much less African American women, and details their often quite significant accomplishments. The book looks at chemists in academia, industry, and government, as well as chemical engineers, whose career path is very different from that of the tradition chemist, and it concludes with a chapter on the future of African American women chemists, which will be of interest to all women interested in a career in science.

blackchildrensbooksandauthors:

African-American Women Chemists

Jeannette E. Brown

This book profiles the lives of numerous women, ranging from the earliest pioneers up until the late 1960’s when the Civil Rights Acts sparked greater career opportunities. Brown examines each woman’s motivation to pursue chemistry, describes their struggles to obtain an education and their efforts to succeed in a field in which there were few African American men, much less African American women, and details their often quite significant accomplishments. The book looks at chemists in academia, industry, and government, as well as chemical engineers, whose career path is very different from that of the tradition chemist, and it concludes with a chapter on the future of African American women chemists, which will be of interest to all women interested in a career in science.

(Source: guides.libraries.uc.edu, via womenrockscience)

36 notes

Specialty Residence for Women in Science and Engineering

Very cool! Though referring to a study session as a “powwow” isn’t very appropriate.  

Filed under women in science science college university STEM

13,773 notes

I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life. I can perhaps offer some insight from that perspective. There are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community, as well as the community of women in a white male dominate society…

When I look at — throughout my life — I’ve known that I wanted to do astrophysics since I was 9 years old…I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expressions of these ambitions. All I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist was hands down the path of most resistance through the forces of society.

Anytime I expressed this interest, teachers would say, ‘Oh, don’t you wanna be an athlete?’ I want to become someone that was outside of the paradigm of expectations of the people in power. Fortunately, my depth of interest of the universe was so deep and so fuel enriched that everyone of these curve balls that I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just reach for more fuel, and I just kept going.

Now, here I am, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I wanna look behind me and say, ‘Where are the others who might have been this,’ and they’re not there! …I happened to survive and others did not simply because of forces of society that prevented it at every turn. At every turn.

…My life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks, when you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today.

So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson in response to a question posed by Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Security and Harvard University President

"What’s up with chicks and science?"

Are there genetic differences between men and women, explain why more men are in science.

(via magnius159)

(via eternalacademic)

836 notes

My favorite silly gene names

jtotheizzoe:

On the heels of this post detailing the adorable story of the hedgehog gene, here’s some more of my favorite silly gene names, and the mutant reasons their redonkulous names:

  • tinman - Mutants do not develop a heart (Fruit fly)
  • dreadlocks - Causes photoreceptors to sprout dreadlock-like axon projections (Fruit fly)
  • tribbles - Causes out of control cell division (Fruit fly)
  • maggie - Larvae never mature (Fruit fly)
  • hamlet - Affects a type of sensory cell called “IIB” (Fruit fly)
  • dunce - Affects learning and memory (Fruit fly)
  • smaug - Represses Nanos, which means “dwarf” (Fruit fly)
  • groucho - Excessive bristles on the face (Fruit fly)
  • ken and barbie - Lack of external genitalia (Fruit fly)
  • indy - Stands for “I’m not dead yet”, a la Monty Python (Fruit fly)
  • lush and cheap date - Affect alcohol metabolism (Fruit fly)
  • RING - A protein segment that comes from “really interesting new gene”
  • tigger and pogo - Two families of transposable elements, or pieces of DNA that can jump around genomes (Multiple species)
  • kryptonite and superman - Kryptonite represses superman, which causes extra stamens to form in flowers (Arabadopsis)
  • Yuri gagarin - Protein involved in sensing gravity (Fruit fly)
  • callipyge - Leads to formation of large, round buttocks in sheep (from Greek for “beautiful buttocks”)
  • chablis, frascati, merlot, retsina, riesling, cabernet, grenache, chardonnay, chianti, pinotage, sauternes, weissherbst, zinfandel - A set of genes found to inhibit blood cell formation. Get it? Red and white?! (Zebrafish)

I think these would make an excellent art project, all you artistically-and-scientifically inclined people out there. Any of your favorites that I missed?

385 notes

sciencenote:

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) in 1944 became the third woman elected to the Academy. In the 1940s and 1950s McClintock’s work on the cytogenetics of maize led her to theorize that genes are transposable — they can move around — on and between chromosomes. McClintock drew this inference by observing changing patterns of coloration in maize kernels over generations of controlled crosses. The idea that genes could move did not seem to fit with what was then known about genes, but improved molecular techniques of the late 1970s and early 1980s allowed other scientists to confirm her discovery, and consequently she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983. This made McClintock the first American woman to win an unshared Nobel. McClintock was born in Hartford, CT, and obtained her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture. From 1931-1933 she was supported by a fellowship from the National Research Council; from 1941until her death she worked at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Among the many honors awarded her was the National Medal of Science, the US government’s highest science award, which she received in 1970.

sciencenote:

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) in 1944 became the third woman elected to the Academy. In the 1940s and 1950s McClintock’s work on the cytogenetics of maize led her to theorize that genes are transposable — they can move around — on and between chromosomes. McClintock drew this inference by observing changing patterns of coloration in maize kernels over generations of controlled crosses. The idea that genes could move did not seem to fit with what was then known about genes, but improved molecular techniques of the late 1970s and early 1980s allowed other scientists to confirm her discovery, and consequently she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983. This made McClintock the first American woman to win an unshared Nobel. McClintock was born in Hartford, CT, and obtained her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture. From 1931-1933 she was supported by a fellowship from the National Research Council; from 1941until her death she worked at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Among the many honors awarded her was the National Medal of Science, the US government’s highest science award, which she received in 1970.

(Source: nas.edu, via laboratoryequipment)