Women in science

A blog for and about women in the sciences

2,815 notes

Reporters: stop asking about my dating life

ehmeegee:

We’ve started placing non-monetary bets on the likelihood that I’m asked about my personal life during publicity interviews.

So far I’ve been correct 100% of the time.

I can’t completely understand the fascination with my dating life; maybe I just really do a stellar job of keeping it ambiguous and therefore compellingly mysterious, such that it warrants questioning during professional interviews. But more often there’s this awe-like oscillation between “It must be really hard for you to date because your job is so unique and you do gross things sometime” and “You must get dates all of the time.”

Like today. I mention how I find standing in the dermestid colony room is comforting; it’s an area I wander to when I need to clear my head. It’s quiet, save for the gentle crackling of the busy beetles, hungrily going about their lives while they eat and breed and die among eviscerated fauna. Pretty soothing. Believe me, there is no quieter place in the Museum. But the minute I being this up the response is “oh giiiirrrrlll we’ve got to get you a date.”

I get that I’m this quirky paradox of a woman: how is it possible I’m pretty, articulate, and also smart? and kinda weird? Gosh the solution to those problems must mean I only got this way because I didn’t have a man in my life to keep me boring and level-headed. Ignore the fact they assume I am also straight.

It comes up again: “do you work with any hot, Indiana Jones scientists?” Hey here’s one for you: are you going to ask my male colleagues these same questions? Going to imply they need to get a date instead of publish so many compelling papers about their research? And I’ll have you know that I’m infinitely more attracted to someone’s wit and candor, and the quality of the work they publish in reputable scientific journals and the eagerness they have to explore our world than whatever physical form they ended up taking. I would marry a gorilla if it were so sophisticated.

Sometimes I feel the most sexism occurring in these fields comes in the form of awkward publicity. I’ve also been asked by reporters if I would pose for Playboy if approached - and what I would charge to accept. If you want to ask me about natural history, or museums, or social media, or science literacy - be my guest. But don’t expect a straightforward answer if you derail the conversation to pry into my personal life.

885 notes

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

Rebecca Solnit

This science-meets-poetry ode to the “lost light” that is Rayleigh-scattered blue comes from her book A Field Guide To Getting Lost (reviewed marvellously at Brain Pickings)

For a scientific take on why the sky is blue (except when it isn’t) check out this video:

(via jtotheizzoe)

1,185 notes

mindblowingscience:

Sally Ride (1951 - 2012) was an astrophysicist, astronaut, and the first American woman in space. After leaving NASA, Ride became a professor at UC San Diego and founded an educational resource company called Sally Ride Science. An intensely private person, her sudden death in 2012 from pancreatic cancer came with the public revelation that fellow UC San Diego professor Tam O’Shaughnessy had been Ride’s partner for 27 years. Ride is the first known LGBT astronaut. 

"The world and our perceptions have changed a lot, even since the ’70s, but there are lingering stereotypes. If you ask an 11-year-old to draw a scientist, she’s likely to draw a geeky guy with a pocket protector. That’s just not an image an 11-year-old girl aspires to."

-Sally Ride, from Inventors Digest, 2009 (h/t Space.com)

mindblowingscience:

Sally Ride (1951 - 2012) was an astrophysicist, astronaut, and the first American woman in space. After leaving NASA, Ride became a professor at UC San Diego and founded an educational resource company called Sally Ride Science. An intensely private person, her sudden death in 2012 from pancreatic cancer came with the public revelation that fellow UC San Diego professor Tam O’Shaughnessy had been Ride’s partner for 27 years. Ride is the first known LGBT astronaut

"The world and our perceptions have changed a lot, even since the ’70s, but there are lingering stereotypes. If you ask an 11-year-old to draw a scientist, she’s likely to draw a geeky guy with a pocket protector. That’s just not an image an 11-year-old girl aspires to."

-Sally Ride, from Inventors Digest, 2009 (h/t Space.com)

(via thedragoninmygarage)

1,274 notes

sciencefriday:

othmeralia:

Since 2009, Ada Lovelace Day has aimed “to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire.”  The day’s namesake, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), was the daughter of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke.  Ada, in possession of a keen intellect and deep passion for machinery, was educated in mathematics at the insistence of her mother. Later in life, Ada studied the workings of the Analytical Engine developed by mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. In her notes on the engine, Ada described an algorithm for computing numbers – an algorithm which would distinguish Ada as one of the world’s “first computer programmers.”  

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we present some images from the CHF Archives of women working in various chemistry labs. Click on each photo for additional information.

And for more women in science content, consider taking a look at the films in The Catalyst Series: Women in Chemistry by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

(via eternalacademic)

41 notes

New Nonprofit Supports Women in Science

Filed under women in science

826 notes

wtfevolution:

Important news, internet:
Book release day is here!
In addition to the fine online retailers linked below, you can now find WTF, Evolution?! A Theory of Unintelligible Design at a brick-and-mortar bookselling establishment near you.
I’m not much of a salesperson, but here are seven reasons I can think of that you should probably get a copy:
1. More than half of the material in the book is entirely new. It’s never been on this site before. 
2. It goes further than the blog. In addition to the photos and captions you’ve come to expect, the introductory pages, sidebars, family trees and an exclusive interview provide deeper insight into evolution and the weird-ass ways it works.
3. It’s “funny,” “educational,” and “actually not as annoying as you might think,” according to the very first Amazon review.
4. The photos are amazing. Working with a publisher gave me the opportunity to license some of the best nature photography in the world. More than 100 species appear here in their full-blown, fearsome, strange-nosed and slimy glory. 
5. My grandmother, who was skeptical about the veiled profanity in the title, is reportedly “delighted” by the contents.
6. It’s scientifically accurate.* I sourced every fact in the book to scientific literature or reference texts, and experts in the appropriate fields read over everything to confirm it. There are a million unverifiable weird-animal “facts” out there; these ones check out.
7. The phrase “voluminous rectum” is in it somewhere. I won’t tell you where.
Order online:AmazonPowell’s BooksBarnes and NobleIndieBound
Or head to your local bookstore. And, as always, thanks to you, internet audience, for making this all possible in the first place. You are the best and weirdest.
– Mara
___
*Except for the part where evolution can talk.
Photo: James Waters

wtfevolution:

Important news, internet:

Book release day is here!

In addition to the fine online retailers linked below, you can now find WTF, Evolution?! A Theory of Unintelligible Design at a brick-and-mortar bookselling establishment near you.

I’m not much of a salesperson, but here are seven reasons I can think of that you should probably get a copy:

1. More than half of the material in the book is entirely new. It’s never been on this site before. 

2. It goes further than the blog. In addition to the photos and captions you’ve come to expect, the introductory pages, sidebars, family trees and an exclusive interview provide deeper insight into evolution and the weird-ass ways it works.

3. It’s “funny,” “educational,” and “actually not as annoying as you might think,” according to the very first Amazon review.

4. The photos are amazing. Working with a publisher gave me the opportunity to license some of the best nature photography in the world. More than 100 species appear here in their full-blown, fearsome, strange-nosed and slimy glory. 

5. My grandmother, who was skeptical about the veiled profanity in the title, is reportedly “delighted by the contents.

6. It’s scientifically accurate.* I sourced every fact in the book to scientific literature or reference texts, and experts in the appropriate fields read over everything to confirm it. There are a million unverifiable weird-animal “facts” out there; these ones check out.

7. The phrase “voluminous rectum is in it somewhere. I won’t tell you where.

Order online:
Amazon
Powell’s Books
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Or head to your local bookstore. And, as always, thanks to you, internet audience, for making this all possible in the first place. You are the best and weirdest.

– Mara

___

*Except for the part where evolution can talk.

Photo: James Waters

179 notes

The Oculus Feminist

ctvampire:

(SPOILER ALERT: click every single link in this post. No really, trust me on this.)

So my awesome friend Emily Eifler at blinkpopshift is a kickass tech developer and vlogger in the virtual reality field. She also happens to understand that technology, society and culture are intertwined. So when she went to a conference (expo?) about Oculus (the virtual reality gear), she asked a pretty relevant question along the lines of, “what is Oculus’ approach to the clear gender gap, and how do you plan to prevent it from being ported to VR?” because as spookiestbackslider (or really, anyone who keeps abreast of technology) could tell you, media (and the technology upon which it rides) affects people.

As happens, people (lol lez be honest, it was men) tore into her for it and issued her all kinds of nasty things in her direction. I am aware of this firsthand because people decided to leave some nasty comments on my interview with her as well as a vlog I did with her. I, of course, reported these comments as abusive and deleted them because that shit doesn’t fly with me. 

I am amused and saddened at just how seriously all these guys perceive this apparent threat to their very being. And I’m glad that Emily is taking it in stride, and also addressing it, because it hammers home the point that she and others are trying to call out: STEM is in many ways hostile to women. 

As someone who comes from a background where hostility toward women is nothing new or surprising, I am frankly boggled the majority of the time when guys are like “What!?!? Sexism doesn’t exist! Women just need to try harder!” and “women don’t REALLY want to be in STEM fields.” And act like the actions of men have nothing to do with why women don’t go into certain fields

All of this is to say that this is why it’s so important that we all speak out about feminism and discrimination and sexism in all their ugly forms, because somewhere there’s a little girl, who cares about science, who’s looking for a heroine.

I say let’s give her as many as we possibly can

(via gender-and-science)