I LOVE scientists. Honestly, if someone tells me they are doing research or want to share a new breakthrough in their field with me, I am RAPT. Sometimes I understand, sometimes I don’t but either way, I am down for some knowledge. If there is a graph or statistics, gracious me, I am into it. Data science, physical science, biological science, psychological science – I don’t care, I want to know it all. That’s probably why I loved Dana Scully so much when I was younger and why Hidden Figures is my pick for best everything in the movie awards.
That said, there still aren’t enough lady scientists. This is hardly news. There’s always a “new” article published that states the “new” concept that there needs to be more women in STEM. Bestill my heart when I read news of women scientists being AMAZING in their field. This is how you get more women and girls in STEM – you highlight the women who are already killing it in their fields.
For example, Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the most important mathematics honor. First in the 78 years of the award! I will not BEGIN to pretend that I have any idea what she won for. Something to do with Riemann Surfaces, which have something to do with complex multi-surfaces and hyperbolic geometry. I got a B- in Geometry in high school so I feel like I can be forgiven for not completely understanding. If I ever meet Ms. Mirzakhani, you can bet that I’ll be buying her a drink or two and demanding she explain it to me. I need to understand, mostly because I currently don’t, and partly because the few papers I read in connection to her work are intriguing.
Another great example is Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green. She was only the second African American woman to receive a doctorate in physics from her alma mater, University of Alabama – Birmingham but has been focusing her career on fighting cancer after two of her family members fought the awful, hateful disease. She recently received a $1.1 million grant from the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Research Scientist Training Program. Her research, which has already excited a lot of people in the cancer research field, focuses on inserting nanoparticles into cancer cells. Once they are inserted, a laser can pinpoint them and destroy them. I’m envisioning a type of lock&load Star Wars-kind of process. The grant will allow her to continue testing and hopefully we will see this process more widely available. I hate cancer like it’s a sentient being so I’m always down for new ways to kill it.
Do you have a favorite current lady scientist? Tell us more in the comments!
***Want to read more about women in science, read “Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” or visit this rad website that highlights amazing women scientists.