Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Women scientists - camp Curie Logs

Monday:  Ecology / Naturalist
Alice Eastwood - Botany
Rachel Carson – Silent Spring
Maria Sibylla Merian  - entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
Cornelia Hess Honegger -- entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
Janine Benyus - Biomimicry (small introduction)


 Alice Eastwood - Botany
Originally Canada, but migrated to the US, and spent most of her career in CA

Alice Eastwood (1859-1953), Naturalist

She was born in Toronto Canada, and moved to Colorado during her high school years. She worked several jobs to help her family while in school and yet still graduated at the top of her class.  Because college was too expensive for her to go,
she began teaching at her old high school after graduation for a decade - which left her summers to do nothing but exploring the Rocky Mountains collecting plant samples, documenting, and illustrating them.  It was risky at the time.  The area was not fully settled, and it was a huge risk.  She was even robbed a few times, but it did not detour her.  She shortened her skirts so she could explore the area better and reach more unreachable places.  She was so well known for this that when the famous natrualist Alfred Russel Wallace visited the area, he requested her to be his guide.  

In 1893, Alice Eastwood moved to California where she met and she befriended Katherine Brandegee, curator of the Academy’s Herbarium, who convinced Eastwood to come and work for her at the California Academy of sciences, San Francisco.  That same year she published a book, A Popular Flora of Denver Colorado, the first of some 300 plus illustrated books and articles she would write about plants from all over the country over her lifetime.  She took over Brandegee’s position in 1895, and spent from then until 1909 organizing and enlarging the collection.  

One of the most valuable things she did when she was there was to separate and protect the rarest of specimens in her office.  When a major Earthquake hit in 1906, she managed to save those plants.  The earthquake had managed to collapse the stairs, so she and a friend climbed 6 floors of iron railing to get to her office and lower the specimens down by ropes, and escape with them right before the fires hit their building.  She saved 1,497 plants (the rarest of collection) but everything else, including her entire personal collection that she had been working on since her teens, was destroyed. 
When asked about her personal loss she said:
She spent the next 6 years rebuilding the collection, and by 1949, 43 years after the disaster, she had gathered over 340,000 different specimens and rebuilt the herbarium. She retired from the academy when she was 90 years old, and died 3 years later from cancer.

She published over 300 articles about botany over her lifetime.

 Eastwoodia elegans -->  a type of sunflower she discovered

"Alice Eastwood." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved June 27, 2010 from

Some of her favorite species
west American Liliaceae - Erythronium revolutum


Rachel Carson – Silent Spring
 1904 - 1964,  USA

 Image taken from:


Rachel Carson (1907-1964) Environmentalist / Marine Biologist
If there was ever a person who changed the world, it was Rachel Carson.  She published several articles, and 5 books, 2 of which we best sellers for years at a time, but it was her book, Silent Spring in 1962, that gave our poisoned environment a voice. 
Carson grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania.  As a child, she was completely consumed by her interest in wildlife and her mother encouraged this.  She put herself through school, originally intending to get a degree in English, but her love for nature could not be stifled, and she graduated in the top of her class with a Zoology degree.  Later she gained her Masters with a focus in Marine Biology. 
In 1936, she found herself with a full house to support.  Her father had died and her mother moved in with her, along with her 2 nieces, which she adopted when her sister died.  She took a job at the United States Bureau of Fisheries, and was only one of two women working there in non-clerical jobs, writing for radio during the great depression, and eventually becoming editor and chief for all their publications.

She was already gaining fame with both of her best selling books, The Sea Around Us (1951), and The Edge of the Sea (1955), but it was the next project that she took on which solidified her place in the history books, and changed the world.  After World War II and the increase use of pesticides - Rachel, changed her focus, due to the pleas of her friend, Olga Owens Huckins.
Carson went on to report the dangers of pesticides on all life.  In 1957, Huckins and her husband were alarmed when the morning after their bird sanctuary was sprayed by the government with DDT, said to control the mosquito population, several song birds were found dead with anguished and tortured physical expressions.  Huckin’s begged for her help to spread the word of the dangers of this seemingly “harmless” pesticide.
Carson spent 4 years collecting data to support her findings, and wound up synthesizing several alarming reports that had never been put together before, building an insurmountable defense against the use of pesticides. 
“The More I learned about pesticides, the more appalled I became.  Everything, which meant most to me as a naturalist was being threatened.”   - Carson.

When her book was first published in 1962, many papers and people who financially profited from DTT declared her hysterical, extreme, emotionally fanning words, obsessive, etc.  They tried to write her off as an over reactionary woman, out of control and out of her mind.  Yet, the more evidence that came in, and the more national attention it drew, the more it became clear that she might be one of the few rational people left around. 
She testified before Congress in 1963, calling for new regulations to protect humans and other life forms against chemicals likes these in favor of health and well being of living things.
She died a year later (1964) of breast cancer, but her cause lived on.   

Due to her one little book, she drove the urgency for something to be done.  It inspired the development of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 1970, and the banning of the use of DDT in 1972.  She became a catalyst for change, and that energy still persists today.
Unfortunately, so does the reason that ecological concern still is a fire hot issue of concern.  Back in 1992, (12 years ago) it was estimated some 2.2 billion pounds of pesticide were used in this country.  That amounts to some 8 lbs of pesticide per person (man, woman and child), each year.  This industry has not slowed, but only grown over the years.  There is much work that needs to be done.

Her list of Books:
 Under the Sea-wind (1941). 
The Sea Around Us, (1952) 
The Edge of the Sea (1955).

"Help Your Child to Wonder," (1956) 
"Our Ever-Changing Shore" (1957)
Silent Spring (1962) 


Maria Sibylla Merian  - Entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
April 2, 1647 – January 13, 1717)
 Image taken from:

When Maria Sibylla Merian was little, her father died and her mother married a painter who encouraged Maria to draw and paint.  She continued to do so into adulthood, marring her step father's painting assistant even - and going on to paint and even teach such skills to others.  Yet it was her husband's constant infidelity that caused her to leave and divorce him - but gave her the opportunity to travel around the world (most famously South America) and explore her own work even further.
Her studies lead her to focus on gardens and insects -with a particular interest in Caterpillars and butterflies. Prior to her work - people thought that butterflies and Caterpillars arose from spontaneous generation, but it was her observations and illustrations that changed this.  Her sketchbooks were later published into a series of books, and she became well known.  Still - in 1715 she had a stroke, which left her paralyzed, destitute and homeless.  She died 2 years later with nothing.

Her books:
Neues Blumenbuch -- New book of flowers  (1675)
Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandlung und sonderbare Blumennahrung -- The Caterpillar, Marvelous Transformation and Strange Floral Food  (1678)

Cornelia Hess Honegger -- entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
 Zurich, Switzerland, (1944  - present)

"A scientific illustrator and artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger was born in 1944 in Zurich, Switzerland. She worked for 25 years as a scientific illustrator for the scientific department of the Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich. Since 1969, she has collected and painted bugs in the suborder Heteroptera. Her watercolors act as an interface between art and science and pay witness to a beautiful but endangered nature. Since the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied, and painted morphologically disturbed insects she finds in the fallout areas of this and other nuclear plants. Since the early 1970s, her work has been shown in various galleries and museums in Switzerland, as well as at prestigious institutions such as the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Chelsea Art Museum in New York, and the Kunsthaus Nürnberg. For more on Cornelia click here."  Bio taken from:

Her Bio has been Taken & copied directly from her site:
"Since the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied and painted morphologically disturbed insects, which she finds in the fallout areas of Chernobyl as well as near nuclear installations. As a result of her studies, she is convinced that in  
regions where the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, or from normally working nuclear power plants, hits ground, the vegetation is contaminated, and a certain percentage of the insects, like leaf bugs, become morphologically disturbed.
Her first research trip, in the summer of 1987, brought her to the regions worst hit by the Chernobyl radioactive cloud: the south of Sweden and the southern part of Switzerland, known as the Ticino. She captured leaf bugs in those regions, insects that were two generations removed from the Chernobyl accident, and studied their health with her binocular microscope. She concluded that the fallout from Chernobyl had caused a significant number of morphological malformations among Heteroptera leaf bugs, Drosophila fruit flies, and plants. 

She published her work in the magazine of the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in January 1988. Swiss scientists, however, expressed criticism of her research, insisting that the fallout in Western Europe from the Chernobyl accident was too small to cause morphological disturbances in insects.
After this attack from the Swiss scientific community on her findings, Cornelia became even more intrigued about the effects of radiation on the health of insects. She wondered whether the insects living in the environs of Swiss nuclear power plants, which emit significantly lower levels of radiation than the fallout from Chernobyl, would therefore be healthy. 

In 1989 Cornelia made her first trip to collect leaf bugs in the environs of the Swiss  nuclear power plants Gösgen and Leibstadt, in the canton of Aargau. In 1989 she continued her studies in the environs of the British nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield. In the following years she concluded studies around the French nuclear reprocessing plant La Hague, the nuclear power plants Krümmel and Gundremmingen in Germany, and Three Mile Island in the U.S., as well as the Nevada atom bomb testing area and the Hanford plutonium factories in Washington State. In 1990 she traveled to Chernobyl itself.
Based on her studies, she has concluded that normally working nuclear power plants — as well as other nuclear installations — cause deformities in Heteroptera leaf bugs, and are a terrible threat to nature. Her field studies were centered at first in her native Switzerland, since she felt she should  
begin by taking a broom to her own house. Her watercolors of morphologically disturbed insects and plants, as well as her publications, document her findings in a very convincing and impressive form.

Cornelia has learned that there is an official science that claims that the low amounts of radiation emitted by nuclear installations are harmless. The risks of low-level exposure are ignored or insufficiently studied by scientists connected to government institutions and universities. Scientists who have researched the effects of low-level exposure to radiation — like the scientists in Belarus, Ukraine, and Germany who studied the effects of the Chernobyl radioactive cloud on children’s health — are not given opportunities to publish their findings, or are ostracized within the scientific community.  
All over the world, scientists who study the effects of radioactivity have little opportunity to publish their findings or persuade their governments about its deathly effects, as those governments quickly approve counter-studies. Cornelia therefore asks for truly independent studies — from university scientists not dependent on government funding — but she also wishes to reach the man and woman in the street to alert them to the problem." 
Her Bio has been Taken & copied directly from her site:


Janine Benyus - Biomimicry (small introduction)

"Janine Benyus is dazzlingly brilliant naturalist and the author of six books, including the groundbreaking Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. She is co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, which helps designers, engineers and community leaders "consult life's genius for more graceful ways to live on earth."  Image and bio taken from:

Acid Rain Experiment
Start with 3 plants - In this case we are using the imatient

They will each get a 1/2 cup of fluid

the Black will get 50% water, 50% lemon juice (Acid)

the brown pot will get 100% water

 the Green will get 75% water, and 25% lemon juice  (Acid)

and this is the 50% water - 50% lemon juice - which is WAY TOO MUCH.  Nearly killed the plant in hours.  so we'll do less in class.
 A week later - things happen  - but it seemed like more of it had to do with mold than it did with acid.  The 50% lemon juice tried to die instantly, flimsy leaves, they wilted, and stopped growing all together.


Katherine Brandegee (maiden name Layne)(1844-1920), Naturalist

Katherine Brandegee (Layne, her maiden name at the time) married to a cop in 1866 but when he died of alcoholism in 1874, she decided follow her own interests and started her life over.  She enrolled in medical school at the University of California, Berkeley in 1875.  She was the third woman ever to do so.  Do to discrimination, she did not get very many patients, and decided then to shift her focus on her long time passion for plants.  She studied them with the intent developing new medical drugs. 
She went to the Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, working in the Herbology lab. She did such a complete job organizing, and documenting the plants that the curator turned his job over to her when he retired in 1883.  During her stay there, she met, and fell in love with her true-life partner, Townshend Stith Brandeggee.  They married in 1889, and spent their honeymoon walking from San Diego to San Francisco collecting plants for their own collection.  She left the academy into the hands of Alice Eastwood in 1895, and spent the rest of her life traveling the southwest collecting plants species in fair and fowl health. 
It was said that she could have published the most in-depth book about plants that had ever been, but her fear of failure held her from doing it, and thus, she never did.  

Tuesday:  Exploration, Medicine, technology & Design
Dr. Mae Jemison  - astronaut, 1st African American Woman in space
Sally Ride,  - astronaut, 1st American Woman in space
Myra Adele Logan,  - 1st woman to operate on the human heart
Ann Hamilton,  - Medicine related to industrial areas
Rachel Zimmerman – Created a translator through symbols, she created technology to get disabled individuals who could no longer communicate with words. Blissymbols
Ada Lovelace, - father was poet Byron, she worked on the initial seeds of computers   Analyst, Metaphysician, and Founder of Scientific Computing
Janine Benyus,  - Biomimicry
Sylvia Earle - Deep Ocean Research



Dr. Mae Jemison- Astronaut
Born in Alabama, Lived in Chicago, currently lives in Huston TX, but remains a global citizen.
(1956 - present)
Mae's parents believed education was extremely important and hence was the reason for moving to Chicago when she was 3 years old.  At age 4, her Uncle inspired her interest in Archeology and Anthropology.  She has degrees, experience, and skills in African studies, African American studies, Chemical Engineering, Science, Dance, Coreography, Astronaut, Education, Teaching,  Medical work and more.

She is dedicated to equality for all people and improving the status of those who are inhibited by social injustice.  She has traveled all over the world and worked on improving the health of those in less fortunate countries than our own.

Since leaving NASA - she has focused her attention of providing opportunities for education in the sciences and beyond.

Bio Taken directly from TED talks:
"In 1992, Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to go into space. She's become a crusader for science education -- and for a new vision of learning that combines arts and sciences, intuition and logic.
Mae Jemison is a poster child for an education that combines arts and sciences. As she says, "I always knew I'd go to space." Trained as an engineer, Jemison is a medical doctor, and she practiced in LA before becoming the Peace Corps' Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. While running that effort, she researched Hepatitis B, schistosomaisis and rabies with the CDC and NIH.
Back in the US, she'd returned to her California practice when selected in 1987 for NASA's astronaut program. She was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab-JEndeavour and her crew launched from and returned to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In completing her first space flight, Dr. Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space." (September 12-20, 1992), a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. From NASA's factsheet: "The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments. Dr. Jemison was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment flown on the mission. The
In 1994, Jemison founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which runs an internationally-known science camp called The Earth We Share. She also founded BioSentient Corp. to explore bringing NASA biofeedback technology to public market. Jemison is also the first real astronaut to appear on Star Trek"  Bio Taken directly from TED talks:
Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together

"Dr. Jemison founded The Jemison Group, Inc., located in Houston, TX, to research, develop and implement advanced technologies suited to the social, political, cultural and economic context of the individual, especially for the developing world. Current projects include: Alpha, (TM) a satellite based telecommunication system to improve health care in West Africa; and The Earth We Share, (TM) an international science camp for students ages 12 to 16, that utilizes an experiential curriculum.".....
......"She feels very honored by the establishment (1992) of the MAE C. JEMISON ACADEMY, an alternative public school in Detroit."  Quotes taken from the bio of Dr. Jemison at the site:

She has also created these educational programs as well:
(1994) The Earth We Share, a space camp for ages 12-16.
(1995-2002) taught environmental studies at Dartmouth College.
(present) The Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in developing countries.


Sylvia Earle - Deep Ocean Research
 This was all Taken from the TED bio  - and can be read at:
"Sylvia Earle has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. She's led more than 50 undersea expeditions, and she's been an equally tireless advocate for our oceans and the creatures who live in them.
"Sylvia Earle, called "Her Deepness" by the New Yorker and the New York Times, "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and "Hero for the Planet" by Time, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.
Earle's work has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. Earle has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide involving more than 6,000 hours underwater. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface. In 1979, Sylvia Earle walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other woman before or since. In the 1980s she started the companies Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies with engineer Graham Hawkes to design and build undersea vehicles that allow scientists to work at previously inaccessible depths. In the early 1990s, Dr. Earle served as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. At present she is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. 
Sylvia Earle is a dedicated advocate for the world's oceans and the creatures that live in them. Her voice speaks with wonder and amazement at the glory of the oceans and with urgency to awaken the public from its ignorance about the role the oceans plays in all of our lives and the importance of maintaining their health.
"We've got to somehow stabilize our connection to nature so that in 50 years from now, 500 years, 5,000 years from now there will still be a wild system and respect for what it takes to sustain us."
Sylvia Earle"  This was all Taken from the TED bio  - and can be read at:

Sylvia Earle's TED Prize wish to protect our oceans



Janine Benyus - Biomimicry

"Janine Benyus is dazzlingly brilliant naturalist and the author of six books, including the groundbreaking Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. She is co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, which helps designers, engineers and community leaders "consult life's genius for more graceful ways to live on earth."  Image and bio taken from:
"Janine Benyus has a message for inventors: When solving a design problem, look to nature first. There you'll find inspired designs for making things waterproof, aerodynamic, solar-powered and more. Here she reveals dozens of new products that take their cue from nature with spectacular results."  taken from Ted:

"Biomimicry is the science and art of emulating Nature's best biological ideas to solve human problems. Non-toxic adhesives inspired by geckos, energy efficient buildings inspired by termite mounds, and resistance-free antibiotics inspired by red seaweed are examples of biomimicry happening today -- and none too soon. Humans may have a long way to go towards living sustainably on this planet, but 10-30 million species with time-tested genius to help us get there."

Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action

Janine Benyus shares nature's designs  not shown in class (Science museum class) - but being made available for your own info.  I will show this - but starting at minute 11.  she kinda babbles in the beginning.

Janine Benyus – Biomimicry “Innovation inspired by Nature”

•  3.8 Billion years of Research and Design testing

•  10 – 30 Million + species that are well adapted to the solutions
•  Design solutions solved in the CONTEXT of living on Earth, and making things without damaging it.  

•  The Emulation of life’s Genius
•  It is not ‘high tech” if it is not sustainable and safe for the environment, now and generations to come.

3 questions:
1)          1) How does life make things?
-       Without heating, beating or treating? (Our current system is 96% waste, 4% product) – Nature has 0% waste  - and all of it gets re-absorbed and used into a system.
2)              2)How does life make the most of things?
-       How does information turn into matter and the structure always aids in the function of the creature?
3) How does life Make “things” that disappear into a system? 

Questions like “HOW DOES NATURE……………
-  Organize spring?
-  Optimize its packing space?
-  Waterproof?
-  Heat and Cool a structure?
-  Build houses for it’s young?
- Allow for coexistence of all those around it?
-  Repel bacteria?
-  Move fast without turbulence or friction?
-  Gather water in environments where there are no liquid pools of water?
-  Gather, create and use Energy efficiently?
-   Use CO2 as a building Block rather that see it as a waste product?
- Filter water?
-  Design strength building in a structure with the minimal amount of matter? (like bones and trees)
-  How can you get many functions out of one material?  (Like chitin on an insect)
Currently we use all the elements on the periodic table, many of them carcinogenetic and work with 350 different polymers to create things.  Nature uses basically 4 elements and only 5 different formulas of polymers to do the same things and more with no carcinogens or waste. 
-  Work with Nano technology, and safely?
-    Energy use, and how to optimize it?
-  How does nature move water up without a pump?
-  How does nature produce energy (like the electric eel), and INSULATE itself from the 200 volts of energy it creates?
-  How does nature shut on and off?
-  Self assembles?
-  How can we reduce Drag / friction (the loss of energy)?
-  Hoe does it listen specifically to something amongst all the noise?
-  Provide Ecosystem wide services that all work together in concert?

Janine Benyus’ BIG IDEAS

#1 – Self assembly:  shells – mother of pearl that is stronger than ceramics yet assembled at room temperature, lenses that are flexible, silicon w/ out carcinogens.  How to create & build something WITHOUT HEATING, BEATING OR TREATING.

#2 – CO2, as a building block:

#3 – Solar Transformation:  Harvesting the sun’s energy and using it efficiently for growth.

#4 – Power of Shape:

#5 – Color with out pigment: thin film interference

#6 – Shape and form that cleans itself without detergents:

#7 – Quenching Thirst – how to get water out of thin air.

#8 – Separation Technology – to get metals without mining.

#9 – Green Chemistry:  Nature uses only 4 elements on the periodic table and only 5 polymers to create everything we see that is biological.  It takes us 118 elements and most of them are carcinogenic and 350 polymers to make what we see around us that are man made.

#10 – Timed degradation: being able to dissolve on cue

#11 – Resilience and healing:  looking at species that are able to dry out and come back to life in the presence of water after years and years (inspired vaccine development), and re-generate limbs

#12 – Growing and farming

#13 – Life’s Design is always simple

#14 – Life Creates Conditions Conducive to life


NASA 50th Anniversary Moment - Sally Ride

Ada Lovelace, - father was poet Byron, she worked on the initial seeds of computers   Analyst, Metaphysician, and Founder of Scientific Computing

"Ada Byron was the daughter of a brief marriage between the Romantic poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, who separated from Byron just a month after Ada was born. Four months later, Byron left England forever. Ada never met her father (who died in Greece in 1823) and was raised by her mother, Lady Byron. Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill health and bursts of energy.
Lady Byron wished her daughter to be unlike her poetical father, and she saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies. But Ada's complex inheritance became apparent as early as 1828, when she produced the design for a flying machine. It was mathematics that gave her life its wings."

"Ada called herself "an Analyst (& Metaphysician)," and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer. It was suited for "developping [sic] and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity." Her Notes anticipate future developments, including computer-generated music.
Ada died of cancer in 1852, at the age of 37, and was buried beside the father she never knew. Her contributions to science were resurrected only recently, but many new biographies* attest to the fascination of Babbage's "Enchantress of Numbers."  taken from:

Myra Adele Logan,  - 1st woman to operate on the human heart

"She not only delivered babies on the way to the hospital, but also repaired numerous stab wounds to the heart. Remaining at Harlem Hospital, she became an associate surgeon there, and was also a visiting surgeon at Sydenham Hospital. In 1943 she became the first woman to perform open heart surgery, in the ninth operation of its kind anywhere in the world. She also became interested in the then-new antibiotic drugs, researching aureomycin and other drugs and publishing her results in Archives of Surgery and Journal of American Medical Surgery. In the 1960s, Logan began to work on breast cancer, developing a slower x-ray process that could detect more accurately differences in the density of tissue and thus help discover tumors much earlier. In addition to maintaining a private practice, she was also a charter member of one ofthe first group practices in the nation, the Upper Manhattan Medical Group of the Health Insurance Plan, a concept that houses physicians of various specialties under one roof and that is the norm today.
Logan found time in her busy schedule to stay committed to social issues. Early in her career, she was a member of the New York State Committee on Discrimination, but resigned in protest in 1944 when Governor Dewey ignored the anti-discrimination legislation the committee had proposed. She was also active in Planned Parenthood as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and after her retirement in 1970 she served on the New York State Work men's Compensation Board. Her myriad medical and civic achievements led to her election to the American College of Surgeons.
Logan married the well known painter Charles Alston in 1943. The couple had no children, devoting their lives to professional pursuits. She was a lover of music and a fine classical pianist. She also enjoyed the theater and reading. Myra Adele Logan died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on January 13, 1977, of lung cancer at the age of 68. Her husband, Charles Alston, died only a few months later."  information taken from:

Wendesday:  Biology, Design  (continued), Communicating a cause.
Rosalind Franklin – Actual discoverer of the shape of DNA
Barbara McClintock,  - how inheritance occurs through genetic expression
Helen Harrison – re-designing
Jane Poynter - Biosphere 2 


This is her blog:


DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME - tree frog experiment.

Poison Dart Frog Challenge - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME (REALLY - IT'S VERY DANGEROUS) from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

Chytrid Fungus (responsible for killing of MANY MANY frogs - with a light soundtrack

Chytrid fungus under the microscope from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

You can learn more about the serious trouble amphibians are in at PBS.  They did a whole show called 
"THE THIN GREEN LINE" - which you can watch the whole episode if you click here.

Part of "a Thin Green Line"


Strawberry dart frog

Planet Earth frogs




“She had Charisma, she was fascinating, very attractive woman, and she affected all of us in a very deep way.  Her friends and students have a great difficulty thinking about her because it is so painful.”
- Kenneth C. Holmes  (friend of Rosalind's)

Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-1962), Chemist, X-ray Crystallographer, Discovers the structure of DNA - well....  almost
Rosalind Franklin was one of the most accomplished and yet least recognized women in science.  Before her death at age 37, she made revolutionary discoveries in three different projects, published dozens of articles that are still sited today, and it seems like everyone she worked with, later went on to win a Noble Prize.  She is most famous for “Photo 51”, the DNA image that James Watson and Francis Crick based their model on Rosalind was always interested in science.  She preferred math, memory games, and building things rather than playing with dolls and at age 15, she had decided to become a scientist.  She graduated early and was accepted to Cambridge University.
Franklin was interested in the technique of Crystallography, a process using an x-ray beam shot at very fine objects (like a molecule).  Some of the beam penetrates straight through the molecule but others bounce off the atoms that are in the way, imagine a mini-blind.  Using film, the resulting x-ray pattern is recorded as an image and then mathematically plotted for the position of atoms within that molecule.  Before Franklin, they could only take images of solid crystal forms, but she pioneered the ability to take images from disordered matter (like Carbon), and complicated biological molecules.
When she started working, World War II was underway.  To help with the war effort, she studied coal and discovered structural changes when coal carbons are heated.  Her work was vital to improving coal efficiency, high strength carbon fibers, improving gas masks, and extremely useful to the coal and nuclear industry.
Franklin’s incredible skills working with crystallography got her a job at Kings College to work on solving the structure of DNA and understanding how hereditary information is passed on.  It was physicist John Randell, who had assembled an interdisciplinary team to work on the problem and turned over the imaging / structure portion of the project over “lock, stock, and barrel” to Franklin and graduate student Raymond Gosling. 
Maurice Wilkins had been working in the lab on the same subject prior, and was on vacation at the time that Franklin was hired.  He assumed that she was going to be his assistant, but returned to an improved laboratory, with Franklin making magnificent progress.  She was doing better work, more articulate, and was far more qualified than him.
Franklin’s manner is often discussed more often then her work. She was known for her strong personality, opinions, and principles.  She was not interested in lofty theories or speculations, but believed that you needed to support your ideas with evidence.  She was a fantastic experimentalist, kept immaculate notes, and was very precise.  She spoke her mind and was not shy about it, and was extremely driven to succeed in everything she did.  All characteristics that if she were a man would be glorified for.  Her colleges had a hard time dealing with this.  They, obviously intimidated, tried to write her off and exclude her.  They gave her nasty nicknames behind her back, like “Rosy”, and “the Dark Lady”, 
“I’m afraid we always used to adopt – let’s say, a patronizing attitude towards her.” – Francis Crick
Franklin and Wilkins did not get along.  Wilkins was soft spoken, indecisive, speculative, passive, shy, and indirect.  All things that clashed with Franklin’s way of working with proofs and debates.  Franklin was very quick, direct and intense.  When Wilkins was pressed for information, he would just clam up.  Franklin needed a collaborator.  It was the one thing that held her back from discovering the entire DNA ordeal herself.  It wasn’t going to be Wilkins, even though he was suppose to help her, and definitely not someone who was constantly trying to belittle her.   Gosling had no problems working with her, and they got along wonderfully.  She later went on to work very well in other teams, especially during her virus work.  It wasn’t about her so much as it was other people’s hang-ups on gender rolls.  As she put it, “There are certain disadvantages to being a daughter”. 
Franklin took the clearest images ever taken of DNA.  Before, people were using thick clumps of it, and getting images that were slices of DNA on top of each other that were impossible to distinguish what went where.  There was some idea of a helix, but no image clear enough to be useful.  Franklin took a more organized approach.  With a glass rod and a microscope, she pulled thin fibers of DNA, lined up 20 of them, and then bundled them up, making them about the thickness of a human hair.  She also changed the size of her x-ray beam to match the diameter of the fibers.
Most scientists hate the drudgery of experimentation, doing a project over and over again to compare results and add up data, they just want the answer.  Franklin felt that gathering data was the most important part of gaining fact backed and based answers, but also the only way to a complete understanding of the subject so even more answers could be found.  When Franklin noticed that her images changed slightly from day to day, she decided to test how humidity affected the shape of the DNA.
Sure enough, DNA came in 2 different forms.  A-Form was the “dry form”, achieving the same results in the images taken before her.  There was a lot of information, and important details, but confusing to the whole picture.  B-Form was the “wet form”.  At 95% humidity, the water molecules were able to hold the DNA molecules in place.  The DNA strand swelled to 25% longer, and the result was an image that had fewer details than the dry form, but what was important was the big X that was made from this technique.  This was definitely the characteristic of a helix.  Also, because the molecule could absorb and give off water, she was able to conclude that the location of the phosphates and sugars chains were on the outside, leaving the bases on the inside of the structure, looking something like a staircase. 
She was leagues ahead of anyone at this point understanding the shape of DNA, but she was stuck on one point.  It was obvious that the B-Form was a helix, and she knew that form A was probably a helix, but probably wasn’t good enough, she needed proof. 
There were 4 major pieces to understanding the shape of DNA:
1)    The phosphate and sugars strands are on the outside, and the bases are on the inside.
2)    There are 2 phosphate strands winding together shaped like a helix.
3)    One strand goes up, and the other down.  They both hold the same information, but one side of it is read in one direction, and the other is in the opposite direction.
4)    Each of the “steps in the staircase”, are 2 pairs of bases.
She had the first part, and if you look at her notes, she had little bits of everything else and was teetering on the whole solution. She probably had a very good idea of what it would look like, but she wasn’t into speculation, she needed evidence to back her good idea to being the right one.
Around this time, word was getting out about the work on DNA happening at Kings College.  This was tantalizing for the young, cocky, American; James Watson caught wind of it and wanted to be part of the action.  He applied to join the Kings College research team, but was turned down.  He eventually wound up working at Cambridge.  Watson was brash, social, laid back and a real “mans-man”, getting most of his scientific research from casually chit chatting with other male scientists.  “Except for my writing, all my work has been getting other people to help me.  If I have to use someone else to get the answer, I’ll do it… The most important thing in science is getting the answer, not showing that you’ve done it yourself…  It helps you doing science if you’re very social.”   - James Watson
In November 1951, Franklin gave a lecture about her to date findings on DNA structure.  She showed the 2 different forms, her conclusions of the placement of the phosphates, sugars, bases, and the definite helix pattern in B-Form and the probability A-Form was the same.  She refused to state it as a fact though because there was no evidence to back her speculations about A-Form.  A British graduate student, named Francis Crick who was working with Watson, asked him to attend Franklin’s lecture.  He sat in the audience smugly and making it clear that he was not going to take any notes.  In fact, he wasn’t even really listening, but spent the whole time assessing Franklin’s looks. 
Franklin was very striking, so it says quite a lot about Watson when you read his description of her in his book he wrote later, The Race for the Double Helix, giving his account of the events that lead to this major discovery. “There was not a trace of warmth or frivolity in her words,”  “how she would look if she took off her glasses and did something novel with her hair.”  Franklin never wore glasses.  And as far as fashion was concerned, she always had the latest.  She made her own cloths and was constantly changing her hemlines to keep up with the current look. 
Watson was so fixated on checking her out that he did not check the information he brought back to Crick.  He got it completely wrong, and was a huge embarrassment to Cambridge when Watson and Crick hastily built a model off his miss information and then bragged to the whole science community about it.  They caused a huge noise about their model, but when Franklin and her team came to see it, it was Franklin who looked at it and bluntly pointed out - one, two, three - where their model was wrong.  They had put the phosphate and sugar chain on the inside and the bases on the outside.  Clearly, Watson did not pay attention to what was in her lecture.
Sir Lawrence Bragg, head of the department was so humiliated, he banned Watson and Crick from working on the model on the account that it was invasive and rude.  Bragg said, “Horning on a King’s College project was not good sportsmanship – especially when you were wrong.”
It was in the spring of 1952 that Franklin made the infamous “Photo 51”, a 62-hour exposure of B-Form.  It was beautiful, and still is one of the best today.  What she saw in it, she already knew, and turned her focus back on proving that A-Form was also a helix.  She put her image in a drawer for the mean time.  She needed the math to prove the information that she already knew was right. There was no way of determining whether a model was right or wrong, without the correct information to build it.
Linus Paulling, an American chemist who won 2 Nobel Prizes, and if perhaps he had seen Franklin’s work and met with her, he would have had 3.  Paulling was coming up with his own theories about DNA.  He had sent a draft of his work to his son, Paul Paulling who studying at Cambridge to review it.  Paul Paulling knew that Watson was interested in the subject, so he passed it along to him.  Watson then took the paper to Franklin.
The information in the draft was nothing new and was making all the same mistakes made before because Paulling was basing his information off of a doubled up image taken 5 years ago.  Watson’s visit was particularly offensive because she had written Paulling’s department several times to talk about what she’d found and looking for someone to converse with and give her some new direction.  Nobody had written her back.  And now, there’s Watson, with access to information that she was denied, who had done no research of his own just synthesizing from the work of others and was more interested in socializing than collecting data.  She was a busy woman, who had at this point collected 2 years worth of an immense about of data on DNA.  At this point knew more than anyone about it.  She asked him to leave.  In Watson’s book, he makes claims that she was going to beat him up if he didn’t leave and he had to run right out of her office in order to escape the battering.  It’s kind of amusing to imagine 32 year old, thin framed Franklin, all of 5’6” of her taking on the over 6 foot, 25 year old.
In Watson’s “dash for safety”, he ran into Wilkins in the hallway and they began to commiserate.  Wilkins goes into the drawer where Franklin’s perfect B-Form image was and hastily showed it to Watson in order to vent his frustrations that she was still focused on proving A-Form when it was clearly seen in B-Form that DNA was helical.  Wilkins had just given it away, and without Franklin ever finding out about it. “They would not have gone on to their model, their correct model, without the data developed here.  They had that – I blame myself.” Wilkins later said.
Watson sees what Franklin has been saying about the Phosphate / sugars being on the outside, and the bases on the inside.  From the image you can easily see the number and placement of the bases.  It took 2 years to build to this data, and Watson walked off with it in a glance.  He goes back to Crick, and they start furiously building a new model.  Crick looks at the sketched image Watson brought back, and notices it’s similarities to horse hemoglobin he had studied during his PhD, in which the outside strands run in opposite directions of each other.  This means that you have 2 identical copies of the information, and to replicate, all the DNA has to do is unzip, and line up another copy of itself. 
Stumped on a few details, through some social angling, Watson gets a hold of more of Franklin’s yet unpublished work.  All of the Kings Colleges data was collected in the Medical Resource Council.  This information is not classified, but at the same time was not suppose to be used or seen without the permission of the scientist who collected the data.  Ironically, the papers they were looking at was the same information she gave in her lecture in 1951, which Watson was at but not paying attention.
Franklin had no idea that this is all happening behind her back.  At the same time as this was going on, she had pulled out her B-form image and started with it again and started making some of the same realizations completely on her own.  Meanwhile, Watson and Crick are talking to everyone else, except Franklin and Watson, about how to build this model.  Franklin put together her findings and wrote her article first, but Watson and Crick turned their article in to the Nature Journal first.  When the earth shattering issue of Nature came out, it was laid out in such a way to make Franklin’s work look like supporting evidence of Watson and Cricks.  This was their solution to the ever-embarrassing fact that they had done none of the research themselves.  Their article was 1 page long, less than 1000 words.  It was a hypothesis, with no proof, no authorities sited or credit given to any other scientist but themselves.  They struck up a deal with the Journal for the arrangement of their article first; one from Wilkins next, and Franklin’s last that had all the data to prove the hypotheses.  To insure against a lawsuit if the truth was ever found, Watson and Crick added at the bottom of their article, “We have also been stimulated of the knowledge of the general nature of the unpublished experimental results and ideas of Dr. M. H. F. Wilkins, Dr. F. E. Franklin, and coworkers at Kings College, London.”
Watson claimed in his book that Franklin didn’t understand information in the images she was taking.  He was “surprised” when Franklin came to see their new model and recognized it as the correct structure immediately.  Of course she would because it was based entirely from her work.  In her notebook, she works out different models of DNA structure.  You can see all these little sketches of figure 8’s and S forms trying to figure out this symmetry due to the identical strands running opposite directions would work.  She was so close it hurts.  Worst of all, had Watson and Crick not seen her B-Form image, they’d had never discovered it at all.  Neither of them were able to take the pictures themselves and they had been working from that same overlapped picture taken 5 years ago that everyone else was using.  It must be made clear that she died, never knowing that Watson and Crick had seen her B-Form image and were using her unpublished notes. 
Franklin was taken off DNA research and it was handed over to Watson and Crick.  She leaves Kings College and goes to work at Birkbeck College.  She forms a team and begins research on the structure of viruses.  She not only built a ground breaking model Tobacco Mosaic Virus, first of it’s kind and that so many more were based from, but she also made huge strides into understanding how viruses reproduce without being technically alive.  Probably one of the biggest discoveries she made was that Ribonucleic acid, RNA, (DNA’s contractors that tell the cells what to do) is not housed inside the nucleus but is actually housed in the protein coat.  She discovered how proteins and nucleic acid fit together and transfer information.
It was her work on viruses that got her the most attention.  She got invited to speak at several different schools, but was constantly trying to battle the nasty reputation Watson was spreading.  She never sunk to his level with bad talk and name-calling.  Each place she went, she proceeded to debunk his impressions by being her amazing self. 
In the summer of 1956, she is diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Many speculate that its onset had something to do with her constant exposure to x-rays during her DNA research at Kings College.  She told few people about her painful illness and continued to work.  She was so dedicated that when the pain was so great that she couldn’t walk, she would pull herself up the stairs to her lab.  Many students said they offered to help, but she insisted on doing it herself.  After 2 years of painful experimental chemotherapy, she realized that her illness was terminal.  Instead of slowing her down, she only worked harder.  She took on more risky research, like working with live Polioviruses.  She brought her research along to work on while she was in the hospital when she died.  She had published 17 articles in the 5 years she was at Birkbeck College, and death wasn’t about to stop her.  She loved science and believed in its purpose more than anything.  The week before she died, she organized her research so those she was working with could pick up right where she left off. 
One of those people was one of her closest friends, Aaron Klug.  He later went on to direct one of the leading Molecular Biology Medical Research organizations at Cambridge.  He also, went on in 1982 to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry.  Unlike Watson, Wilkins, and Crick, he sited Rosalind Franklin as a collaborator and inspiration in his acceptance speech. 
Franklin’s unknowing participation in cracking the mystery of DNA would have been forgotten if not unknown, but thanks to Watson’ bragging about how he duped Franklin and stole her research in his book, it has brought light to her lifetime achievements.  In a way, the same man that stole her discovery solidified her place in scientific history, both for her research and her personality.  In her defense of her character, Aaron Klug stated, “…It would have gone quite unremarked if she’d been a man.  But she stood up for things.  She was rather persistent.” and that can be said at a minimum.  She was brilliant, dedicated, accomplished, and above all able to put aside the gossip about her and focus on what was really important, her passion for factual science.  Not just the answers, but every single aspect of it.      

Another Twist in the DNA Double Helix, presented by Janice Voltzow

Play made about the discovery (With bad music)

Another Artist's take on Rosalind Franklin's work

Her medical insitute

Helen Harrison – re-designing  

Helen Meyer Harrison             Artist and Ecologist
Helen Harrison and her husband, Newton Harrison, developed something they call Eco-politics and Eco-poetry.  They traveled the globe, looking for ways to environmentally solve problems like damns that were falling apart, polluted rivers, even attempted to create a self-sufficient ecosystem within a gallery space modeled after an Estuary.  None of these are small tasks seeing these were not just works of art for a temporary exhibition, nor a short run experiment, but large living thing.  It was created in our environment - to protect our environment, so it couldn’t just be a study, it really had to work! 
In the early 1970’s, coinciding with the rising interest in environmentalism, thanks to Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, the Harrisons decided that it would be easier to work along side nature, including ourselves as part of our ecosystem, rather than trying to conquer it.  In the long term, it would be more economical to take the small steps it would take to prevent a catastrophe, in comparison to the cost of the massive repairs an environmental crisis would cause in the long run.
When it came to co-existing, it wasn’t just an ideal the preached, nor was it just to co-exist with their natural environment, but they included their social environment as well.  They brought together scientists, artists, landscape architects, politicians, and the surrounding community with its citizens to find a solution to these problems.  Rather than having these people work against each other, they were working together as a team, towards a healthy goal.  Everyone needed to combine the resources that each other had and their skills to make this thing work.  This same concept applies to how we should interact with our ecosystem.  Every living thing serves a purpose, is valuable, and has huge repercussions once it is lost. 
Helen Harrison isn’t just an artist, a scientist, and an environmentalist: she is a peacemaker.

"Among the leading pioneers of the eco-art movement, the collaborative team of Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison (often referred to simply as "the Harrisons") have worked for almost forty years with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development.
The Harrison's concept of art embraces a breathtaking range of disciplines. They are historians, diplomats, ecologists, investigators, emissaries and art activists. Their work involves proposing solutions and involves not only public discussion, but extensive mapping and documentation of these proposals in an art context.
Past projects have focused on watershed restoration, urban renewal, agriculture and forestry issues among others. The Harrisons’ visionary projects have often led to changes in governmental policy and have expanded dialogue around previously unexplored issues leading to practical implementations throughout the United States and Europe.
"Our work begins when we perceive an anomaly in the environment that is the result of opposing beliefs or contradictory metaphors. Moments when reality no longer appears seamless and the cost of belief has become outrageous offer the opportunity to create new spaces - first in the mind and thereafter in everyday life."
By the early ‘90s, the Harrisons perceived that every work they were doing either needed or engendered a collaborative group. As a consequence, they formed the Harrison Studio and Associates. It’s earliest manifestation was at the Bauhaus Dessau in 1993 in a team that centered around Bauhaus personnel with Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, Vera Westergaard and Gabriel Harrison, working collectively on the Mulde River watershed. Thereafter, the Harrison Studio has formed and reformed many times. There was the Harrison Studio in Borna, South Leipzig. In Bonn, with the Endangered Meadows. In Gouda, with Greenheart Vision. Most recently, the Harrison Studio Britain and, as an offshoot, the Harrison Studio Devon.
Their work process is singular. It begins with the question, “How Big is Here?” Here may be a street corner, as in California Wash or a sub-continent, such as Peninsula Europe. They only do work that is the outcome of an invitation to engage a particular place or situation. Typically, they agree to go to such a place to see, think, speak, research and engage a broad spectrum of people and groups. They will only take on a work if there is a general agreement that their actual client is the environment itself. The agenda is created by the artists in discourse with the larger community. Thus, the Harrisons see themselves simultaneously as guests and co-workers. They stay only as long as the invitation continues, or until they deem that they have done all that is possible for them to do."  --> 
Taken from their own website so we could see them in their own words:

Barbara McClintock,  - how inheritance occurs through genetic expression  Genetics.  Nobel Prize winner

"In early 1929, McClintock published her Ph.D. dissertation in Genetics, then the foremost journal in the field. Within two years, she had published six other articles in major journals, all of which made important contributions to the newly emerging field of plant cytogenetics, and furthered the world's knowledge about the location of genes on chromosomes. She collaborated with students on the most notable of these investigations.
Instructor McClintock gave graduate students Henry Hill and Harriet Creighton two important projects for their thesis research and co-authored these pioneering contributions with them. The first was a method to connect chromosomes with linkage groups in corn (McClintock & Hill 1931) and the second was the cytological proof for crossing over (McClintock 1931, Creighton & McClintock 1931). Creighton and McClintock's significant study gave further confirmation to T. H. Morgan's chromosome theory of inheritance, for which he won a Nobel Prize in 1933. These collaborative projects were based on important work that McClintock had pioneered: identification of corn's ten chromosomes at mitosis (and later at meiotic pachytene stage), confirmation of Belling's translocation hypothesis, and the sequence of the genes in Chromosome 9. Creighton (Ph.D. 1933) became head of Botany at Wellesley College and President of the Botanical Society of America in 1956."  Taken from:









Jane Poynter: Life in Biosphere 2

Thursday: Chemistry, Math and Physics
Marie Curie  - Radiation, Chemistry, elements
Margaret Joan Geller  - dark matter & energy.  Mapping the universe
Mileva Maric  - Un recognized co-author of Einstein’s discoveries
Dorothy Hodgkin  - Penicillin, B12, and Crystallography – how do we see very small things?
Hypatia - mathematician


Marie Curie (1867-1934), (Marya Skodowska), Physics and Chemistry
Marie Curie was both the first, and second woman to win a Nobel Prize in Science.  She is the only person to win 2 Nobel Prizes in different categories, physics and chemistry.  She was born in Poland, but moved to France when she was 24 because women in Poland were not allowed to go to college.  In 1893, she gets her masters in physics from Sorbonne, University of Paris, and the following year a second masters in mathematics.  She met Pierre Curie there, who at the time was working on crystals and magnetic objects.  When Skodowska planned to return to Poland, Pierre did everything to convince her to stay, which in the end was to propose to her. 
It was the work of Henri Becquerel that gained Marie Curie’s interest when deciding on a topic for her Doctorate work.  Becquerel was working with an ore of uranium, called Pitchblende.  He was working this unknown radiation that came from the ore that could darken photographic film and was able to conduct measurable amounts of electricity through air.  M. Curie decided that she would look for other elements that did this same thing.  Just a few days later she discovers thorium.  At this point, Pierre abandons his work and starts to work with Marie on hers. 
Marie Curie starts comparing the amount of electricity conducted through the air to the mount of radioactive elements present in a compound, and discovers a direct relationship.  The more radioactive elements, the more electricity.  The amount of other non-radioactive elements in the compound had no effect on the amount of electricity emitted.  This was a startling discovery for 2 reasons.  First, that radiation came from the atoms itself and not as a result of some interaction between molecules.  This then points out the second and even more unsettling discovery that atom’s nucleus can decay tossing out the pervious belief that atoms were impermeable to change, nothing lives forever. 
Marie Curie’s discoveries did not end there.  In different samples of pitchblende, she found minerals that gave off 4 times the amount of radiation that they were suppose to, so there had to be yet another source of radiation, and there was.  She discovered the element polonium, 400 times more radioactive than uranium, which she named after her homeland Poland.  She goes on to find another element that gives off even more radiation, one million times more than uranium, which she and Pierre name radium.  In 1902, under barn like laboratory conditions they produce 0.1 grams of pure radium, which wins them both and Becquerel the Nobel Prize the following year. 
It is safe to say that they really didn’t know what they had on their hands.  Both the Curies and their coworkers use to play with the blue glowing radioactive materials, which lead to of many ailments and death of those who worked in these makeshift laboratories.  It was eventually killed Marie Curie when she contracted blood cancer.
When Marie was challenged that radium was not a real element, she made the first pure metal form of it.  1 gram of radium back then cost $100,000,and today that is MUCH MUCH more, so this was an extremely profitable discovery.  In 1911, she alone, received a second Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Marie Curie went on to found the Radium Institute, for research devoted to the study of radioactivity in 1918.  During World War I, she helped her homeland Poland by developing portable x-ray machines that could be taken out onto the battlefield to help assess injuries.  They called these “little Curies”.  Her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie went on to make many discoveries in physics and chemistry.  She and her husband Fredric Joliot won the Nobel Prize for chemistry for their development of an artificial radioactive element from one that is naturally stable.

“I got the idea that science was an exciting thing to do.”

Margaret Joan Geller (1947 -), Astronomer
Geller’s father was a scientist working with Crystallography, and her mother fueled Geller’s interest in language and art.  It was the combination of these two areas that was the key to Geller’s understanding, and being able to visualize the shape of the universe. 
Originally, it was thought that the galaxies were distributed equally through out the universe.  If there was one central explosion (the Big Bang), there should be a relatively equal distribution radiating away from the center.  Geller’s goal was to create a map of the nearby universe and see what that stellar distribution was.  She made a map of some 1000 galaxies and was astounded to see a universe that looked a lot like a cup full of bubbles.  There were clusters of star systems curving around this black emptiness.  There was nothing there, but the stars were behaving like there was.
This is interesting today because this sort of phenomenon is what we call “dark matter’, or we hypothesis that it is.  A gravitational unknown, Einstein’s cosmological constant, a new sort of matter, no one knows quite yet.  Six years ago we found out that not only was the Universe expanding, it was gaining speed.  This work was completely contradictory to what gravity is supposed to do which is slow things down.  There needs to be this force tearing the galaxies further and further from each other.  For now, they call it dark energy.
Within this last decade even, there have been huge discoveries in the astronomical world. This is one of the most exciting periods of scientific discovery in this field since we found out that the planets, Earth included, rotate around the sun.  It is a great time to be a physicist. 


Mileva Maric  - Un recognized co-author of Einstein’s discoveries



Eleanor Margaret Burbidge  (1919 -?), Astronomer

Born in Brittan, Eleanor Margaret Peachey loved two things, the stars in the sky, and large numbers.  Astronomy was a perfect fit.  After she had gotten her degree, she tried to get some time in on California’s Mount Wilson’s telescope.  She was turned away.  Back then, it was considered scandalous to have women working… at night…. with men….. in remote places….  It had more to do with people’s imaginations than anything else.  Women were either delegated do daytime observations, or paired up together, but were not allowed to leave after work on their own.  It has only been in the last 35 years or so that women have been allowed the same working and telescope access as men in the Astronomy field.
Being turned down at Mount Wilson, Margaret had to find something else to do, so she decided to go back to school and pick up an extra degree in advanced science.  It is there that she met and married Geoffrey Burbidge.  They both went back to Brittan together and joined up with nuclear physicist William Fowler, and astronomer Fred Hoyle developing a theory about how elements, heavier than hydrogen and helium are formed in stars. 
In the end, they determined that just like everything else, stars age, wear out their nuclear fuel and die. As this happens, the star begins to collapse in on itself.  This is such an intense implosion that heavier and heavier elements begin to fuse their atomic nuclei and grow larger and heavier, and thus changing their properties and becoming new elements.  The heaviest elements occur when you have a star that is so large that when its core collapses, like snapping a rubber band, it creates a massive explosion called a Supernova.  Only that sort of intensity can form our heaviest elements.  After Supernova burns it out in one last little hurrah, the gas from this explosion drifts off into space and finds new residence with new stars and planets. 2
They called their theory the B  FH Theory, after the four of them using the first letter of their last names combined.  The theory was good, but now they needed proof.  In 1955, Margaret went back to California and tried to use Mount Wilson’s telescope again.  She was not let in as a scientist, but she was able to sneak in posing as her husband’s assistant, and she then began to photograph the light and color of the stars.  Light travels in waves of different lengths, which can tell you a lot of things.  Is something coming towards you or going away, the temperature of the star; blue being the hottest and red the coldest.  When an element burns, it gives off radiation in the form of light as well.  By looking at the color and measuring the intensity of each star’s brightness she was able to prove their theory.  She spent the rest of her life looking at stars, becoming president of several different astrological associations, taught, and finished up with working on quasars.

other scientists
MATH - the math of Coral

Margaret Wertheim on the beautiful math of coral

Friday:  Behavior
Margret Mead – social human behavior
Dian Fossie  - Gorillas
Mary Leakey – Anthropologist.  Discovered early human  / hominid remains
Zora Neal Hurston - Anthropologist
Jill Bolte Taylor    Neuroanatomist

Zora Neal Hurston - Anthropologist
She was an inspiration to others, like African American Anthropologist, Zora Neal Hurston (1891-1960).  In the 1930’s, she traveled to places like backwoods Florida, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Bahamas studying the different cultures of African Americans.  She is most known for her study on Voodoo.  She also became a famous writer during the Harlem Renaissance.

After a highly successful career, Mead was inducted to the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1976. 
Because I should have a LOT more written here and am so tired - I want to direct you to
This is where i got this description of her - I DID NOT WRITE THIS - BUT CUT AND PASTED IT!
Credit is due towards this site:
"(b.Jan. 7, 1891?, Notasulga, Ala.-d.Jan. 28, 1960, Fort Pierce, Fla.)   Zora Neale Hurston, novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist, was much responsible for the Harlem Renaissance being the watershed event in black America as delineated through literature that it was.  Despite that she would later fall into disrepute because of her rigid views about civil rights, her earthy lyrical writing which lionized southern black culture has influenced generations of black American literary figures.
The early life of Zora Neale Hurston has been shrouded in mystery.  While the majority of biographical accounts list the year of her birth as 1901, just as many list 1903, and in recent years 1891.  For many years her birthplace was said to have been Eatonville, Fla. (the setting of many of her writings), however, recent evidence has placed it as Notasulga, Ala.  Zora was the fifth of eight children of John and Lucy Ann Potts Hurston.  Her father was a Baptist preacher, tenant farmer, and carpenter.  At age three her family moved to Eatonville, the first incorporated black community in America with a then population of 125, and of which her father would later become mayor.  To Zora Eatonville would become a utopia, glorified in her stories as a place black Americans could live as they desire, independent of white society and all its ways.  The death of her mother when she was thirteen was a devastating event for Zora as she was "passed around the family like a bad penny" by her father for the next several years.
Upon reaching adulthood Zora was working as a domestic, still leading an itinerant life, with little schooling.  She was in Baltimore in 1917, when through the aid of her employer she entered in Morgan Academy (the high school division of Morgan College (now Morgan State University).  Though twenty-six years old at enrollment, she listed her age as sixteen and 1901 as the date of her birth.  With her graduation in 1918, she matriculated at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Here she was inspired by the professor of philosophy and authority on black culture Alain Locke and decided to pursue a literary career.  In 1921, her first short story "John Redding Goes to Sea" that was set in Eatonville was published in the Howard literary magazine The Stylus.  In the following years she contributed several more stories to various magazines.  One of these "Spunk" was published in the black journal Opportunity and caught the attention of such poets as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, who were active in a nascent artistic movement called the Harlem Renaissance.  Zora transferred to Barnard College, an affiliate of  Columbia University, where she was offered a scholarship in anthropology (she would take her B.A. in 1928).  And being in New York City she quickly became a recognized member of the movement.
The Harlem Renaissance was a period during which black artists broke with the traditional dialectal works and imitating white writers to explore black culture and express pride in their race.  This was expressed in literature, music, art, in addition to other forms of artistic expression.  Zora and her stories about Eatonville became a major force in shaping these ideals.  Additionally, she combined her studies in anthropology with her literary output.  Studying under the famed professor of anthropology Franz Boas, she undertook field research (1927-1932) in the south with a fellowship from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History during which she collected folklore and interviewed a former slave.  Her results where published in the article "Cudjo's Own Story of the Last African Slaves" in 1927, which forty-five years later was found to have been plagiarized from Historic Sketches of the Old South by Emma Langdon Roche (1914).  In 1930, Zora and Langston Hughes collaborated on a play Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life.  However, they became embroiled in a dispute over who deserved credit and the play never saw production.
Through a Rosenwald Fellowship (1934) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1935-1936) Zora engaged in her most fruitful anthropological field research which produced her finest literature.  In 1934 her first novel Jonah's Gourd Vine was published.  Set in the fictional Sanford (a thinly disguised Eatonville), it tells of Jonah, a black Baptist preacher who is abundant in emotion and has a weakness for women.  The New York Times critic Margaret Wallace stated it was "the most vital and original novel about the American Negro that has yet been written by a member of the Negro race."  In 1935 Mules and Men was published.  An investigation of voodoo practices in black America in focused on Florida and New Orleans in excellently recorded the folkways and songs of the rural south along with its main topic-the detail of which Zora gained from her own participation.  The critic Lewis Gannett of the New York Herald Tribune stated: "I can't remember anything better since Uncle Remus."
From 1936 to 1938, Zora studied in Jamaica and Haiti on a Guggenheim Fellowship.  This laid the groundwork for Tell My Horse (1938), a travelogue and a study of Caribbean voodoo.  The reviews were mixed: praising it as vivid, keen, and humorous and criticizing it as tedious, sensationalistic, and misrepresentative.  Notwithstanding, Zora's second novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), which took place in Eatonville and told the story of a quadroon named Janie and her three marriages was in general praised as beautiful, touching, and irresistible.
In 1939, Zora's second-to-last novel Moses, Man of the Mountain was published.  A modern version of the biblical story with a black voodoo magician named Moses as the main character, it was credited as being realistic and poetic, but it drew criticism for, as cited by the critic Louis Untermeyer, being unfulfilling as a whole though the characters were painted convincingly.  In the following years Zora's literary output was sporadic.  Her autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road (1942) and was a commercial success.  Although written vividly and wittily, it suffered from gross inaccuracies as Zora attempted to paint a picture of her life according to the fantasy world she idealized.  Her final novel Seraph on the Suwanee (1948), was set in Florida in the early twentieth century and oddly enough was about a white family named Meserve.  Generally the critics considered this book unconvincing, though Zora's writing ability was noted.
Throughout her literary career Zora garnered much criticism for her failure to address the subject of racism as meted out by the white American society in her portrayals of black society.  Zora seemed to view the entire world from the perspective of Eatonville, a place that blacks could be sovereign from all of white society, even the segregation that enveloped it as a southern town.  Many of her contemporaries felt she was not seeing the whole picture, and as the civil rights movement burgeoned in the years after World War II and the majority of black writers adopted this as a theme, Zora's literary appeal waned.  Then her reputation was scathed in 1948 when she was arrested for molesting a ten-year-old retarded boy; the charges were later dropped.
Despite this scandal, it was much of Zora's own doing that tarnished her reputation.  She wrote an article in 1950 attacking the right of blacks to vote in the south, charging that votes were being bought.  Then she railed the desegregation ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Ks.American Legion Magazine and campaigned for the ultraconservative Senator Robert Taft of Ohio for the GOP presidential nomination in 1952.  This only alienated black America more and more. in 1954, on the grounds that black children do not need to go to school with white children in order to learn; to this many civil right leaders took umbrage.  Zora wrote for such right wing publications as
Poverty and obscurity marked Zora's last years, during which she worked mostly as a domestic-as she had started out.  She worked on a book The Life of Herod the Great, but never completed it.  Illness finally overcame her when she suffered a severe stroke in 1959, after which she was committed to the Saint Lucie County Welfare Home in Fort Pierce, Fla.  It was here that Zora Neale Hurston died of hypertensive heart disease on Jan. 28, 1960.
For all the opprobrium that Zora Neale Hurston received later in her career, the brilliance of her literary works cannot be denied.  Future black writers such as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker were greatly influenced by her books, and ironically they have addressed the issue of prejudice in their books.  And any aspect of black culture that remains preserved today and continues to enlighten us owes its status in one way or another to Zora Neale Hurston."
I DID NOT WRITE THIS - BUT CUT AND PASTED IT! Credit is due towards this site:

Jane Goodall (1934 – present), Zoologist, Ethnologist, Ecologist, ActivistRoots & Shoots
Jane Goodall is one of the world’s most famous scientists.  Steven Jay Gould declared her work as “one of the western world’s greatest scientific achievements”.  Without a college degree or any scientific background, Jane Goodall made some of the greatest scientific discoveries in the world of animal behavior, revolutionizing the field, and inspiring many budding scientists.  Much of Goodall’s success can be credited to her humane approach she took to her work.  Instead of assigning her chimps numbers, she gave them names, and documented her observations with stories rather than measurements.  It was this same aspect of her personality that gained her the success with Chimpanzees that no one else had gotten when trying to observe them before.  Kindness, patients, and observation.
Goodall’s career really began when she was little. Her most notorious defining moment was when she vanished for 5 hours.  Her family had just called the police when they found out that she’d been in the hen house the entire time.  She was waiting for a hen to lay an egg so she’d know how it happens and where it came from.  She was intrigued by many of her children book adventures based in Africa, and even her first and favorite toy was a stuffed Chimpanzees named Jubilee.
When her parents divorced, her, her sister and her mother were left with next to nothing, so she had to abandon her plans for college and work as a secretary.  These skills proved useful, for in 1957, a friend of hers from school asked her to visit her in Kenya, where she was working.  Goodall leapt at the chance, and it was there in Kenya that she met Louis S.B. Leakey, famous archeologist known for his discoveries about early man.  He liked her immediately, and hired her to be his assistant secretary.
Leakey was starting a study observing the behavior of some of our closest genetic relatives, the great apes, to gain a better guess at what the behaviors of early man was like.  He asked Goodall if she’d be interested handling the research of the Chimpanzees, and she accepted right away.
It took three months before she saw any chimpanzees at all.  But with patients, and finally abandoning an aggressive search and see approach, she let them come to her.  Watching them from a distance, and slowly over time, having them accept her realizing she wasn’t a threat.
Goodall made many astounding discoveries and much more than the scientific world knew prior.  She saw them hunting and eating meat, when it was thought before they were strictly vegetarians.  She began to distinguish sounds that had approximate language associated with it.  She saw horrible things like watching them wage war, and wonderful things like seeing them have moments of awe at natural wonders, like waterfalls.  Most astounding was discovering that chimpanzees use tools and make tools.  This was an amazing discovery because tools were strictly associated with humans’ abilities and no other.  Suddenly, our distant cousins didn’t seem so distant anymore. 
In 1975, she realized that her knowledge was better served in educating the public on trying to preserve and protect these, and other animals.  In the 1900 it was assumed that there were some 2 million chimpanzees in the world, now it is down to 200,000, scattered around, and loosing numbers quickly.  Not only is she trying to save the chimpanzees but also to stop habitat destruction, poaching, and abusive treatment of all animals. 
In 1991 she started the Roots and Shoots organization designed to educate children about nature, science, and preservation.  She still is traveling the globe, lecturing, and continuing to inspire and save these wonderful creatures from extinction.








Jane Goodal: Reasons for Hope

Jane Goodal: What separates us from Apes


Dian Fossie  - Gorillas

The Movie about Diane Fossie's life - when i was little it changed my life


MARGRET MEAD (1901 – 1978) Anthropologist
Margaret Mead was the anthropologist that suggested that children develop their personality based largely on the culture they are raised in, and not solely on genetics as believed prior to her research.  This was highly controversial at the time she made her studies public her in 1925.  She made these ground breaking observations earlier that year when she and her first husband traveled to the Samoan islands for six months to study the behavior of adolescent girls.  Mead was the first to realize, that in order to observe a culture, you must understand it.  To best do this, you must have some sort of engaged experience with the culture before you can pick up some of the nuances and know some of the basic societal rules to begin with.  She was the first Anthropologist to both learn the language, practice the native customs, eating and living along side the people she was working with. 
She spent the rest of her life traveling the globe studying many other cultures, specifically the cultures of Pacific Island and the Native Americans.  She wrote several books, and taking over some 40,000 photos of the Balinese people alone.  She belonged to several associations in Anthropology, arts and science, scientific advancement, gave many lectures and was highly acclaimed, winning many awards.

Louise Leakey digs for humanity's origins

Jill Bolte Taylor    Neuroanatomist
My stroke of insight: - what is it like to live entirely on the right side of your brain

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