diversity_in_science (14)

Ginai Seabron...

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Ginai Seabron smiles as she exits the Biocomplexity Institute at Steger Hall after the nanoscience graduation ceremony, held the afternoon of May 11.

 

Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science


On May 11, (2018) Ginai Seabron became the first African-American woman to earn a B.S. in nanoscience from the College of Science at Virginia Tech.

As one of only 20 graduating seniors in the nanoscience major, which is part of the college's Academy of Integrated Science, Seabron accepted her degree at the Biocomplexity Institute in Steger Hall among shouts of support and cheers from her peers, friends, and family.

Social media has proven that more than just her personal connections are proud of her accomplishment.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Seabron said of her post going viral. “It’s overwhelming, but I love it.”

Hours before commencement, Seabron spoke through tears as she reflected on her Virginia Tech experience.

“It is not easy at all being the only African-American in the room,” she said. “It’s intimidating.”

She chose not to give up, and in doing so inspired others to pursue the degree. “I’ve actually helped a few other people in my black community transfer into the nanoscience department.”

Her advice to future students comes from lessons she’s learned along the way.

“Continue to push,” she said. “Rely on your family and your friends. Reach out to your professors. Go to office hours. Create your own office hours if you have to. Be social. Step out of your comfort zone. Get to know the people in your class — they could become your study buddies. You’ll think you’re the only person struggling, but as it turns out, everybody’s struggling.”

 

Virginia Tech graduate becomes first African-American woman to earn degree in nanoscience

*****

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

Langston Hughes, I Dream A World, All Poetry dot com

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Dr. Moddie Taylor...

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Dr. Moddie Taylor, Smithsonian

 

Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


Moddie Taylor was born on this date March 3, 1912. He was an African American chemist.

From Nymph, Alabama, Moddie Daniel Taylor was the son of Herbert L. Taylor and Celeste (Oliver) Taylor. His father worked as a postal clerk in St. Louis, Missouri, and it was there that Taylor went to school, graduating from the Charles H. Sumner High School in 1931. He then attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 1935 as valedictorian and as a summa cum laude student. He began his teaching career in 1935, working as an instructor until 1939 and then as an assistant professor from 1939 to 1941 at Lincoln University, while also enrolled in the University of Chicago's graduate program in chemistry. He received his M.S. in 1939 and his Ph.D. in 1943.

Taylor married Vivian Ellis on September 8, 1937, and they had one son, Herbert Moddie Taylor. It was during 1945 that Taylor began his two years as an associate chemist for the top-secret Manhattan Project based at the University of Chicago. Taylor's research interest was in rare earth metals (elements which are the products of oxidized metals and which have special properties and several important industrial uses); his chemical contributions to the nation's atomic energy research earned him a Certificate of Merit from the Secretary of War. After the war, he returned to Lincoln University until 1948 when he joined Howard University as an associate professor of chemistry, becoming a full professor in 1959 and head of the chemistry department in 1969.

In 1960, Taylor's First Principles of Chemistry was published; also in that year the Manufacturing Chemists Association as one of the nation’s six top college chemistry teachers selected him. In 1972, Taylor was also awarded an Honor Scroll from the Washington Institute of Chemists for his contributions to research and teaching. Taylor was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Institute of Science, the American Society for Testing Materials, the New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, and Beta Kappa Chi, and was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and the Washington Academy for the Advancement of Science. Taylor retired as a professor emeritus of chemistry from Howard University on April 1, 1976, and died of cancer in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1976.

 

African American Registry: Dr. Moddie Taylor

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John E. Hodge...

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John E. Hodge, African American Registry (link below)


Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


John Edward Hodge was born on this date (October 12) in 1914. He was an African American chemist.

From Kansas City, Kansas he was the son of Anna Belle Jackson and John Alfred Hodge. His active mind found certain games and sports to be a challenge. He won a number of model airplane contests in Kansas City. He became an expert at billiards in college, and later in Peoria. Chess was another fascination for John, his father, John Alfred, and his son, John Laurent. He graduated from Sumner High School in 1932 and got his A.B. degree in 1936. Hodge received his M.A. in 1940 from the University of Kansas where he was elected to the PI-ii Beta Kappa scholastic society and the Pi Mu Epsilon honorary mathematics organization. He did his postgraduate studies at Bradley University between 1946 and 1960 and received a diploma from the Federal Executive Institute, Charlottesville, VA in 1971.

Hodges career began as oil chemist in Topeka, Kansas at the Department of Inspections. He was also a professor of chemistry at Western University, Quindaro, KS. In 1941 he began nearly 40 years of service at the USDA Nonhem Regional Research Center in Peoria, IL; where he retired in 1980. During that time (1972) he was visiting professor of chemistry at the University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He also received a Superior Service Award at Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1953, and two research team awards also. He was chairman of the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry of the American Chemical Society in 1964, and was an active member of the cereal chemists and other scientific organizations. After retirement Hodge was an adjunct chemistry professor at Bradley University in 1984-85.

Hodge encouraged young black college students to study chemistry. He made tours of historically Black colleges in the South to assess their laboratory capabilities, and recruited summer interns for research experiences. Hodge was on the board of directors of Carver Community Center from 1952 to 1958. In 1953 he was secretary of the Citizens Committee for Peoria Public Schools; as well as secretary for the Mayor's Commission for Senior Citizens, 1982-85. Hodge was an advisory board member at the Central Illinois Agency for the Aging in 1975. John Hodge died on January 3, 1996.

 

African American Registry: John E. Hodge

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Dr. Bettye Washington Greene...

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Science History Institute: Dr. Bettye Washington Greene

 


Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science

 

American Chemical Society: Nanotechnology



Bettye Greene was born on March 20, 1935 in Fort Worth, Texas and earned her B.S. from the Tuskegee Institute in 1955 and her Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1962, studying under Wilfred Heller. She began working for Dow in 1965 in the E.C. Britton Lab, where she specialized in Latex products. According to her former colleague, Rudolph Lindsey, Dr. Greene served as a Consultant on Polymers issues in the Saran Research Laboratory and the Styrene Butadiene (SB) Latex group often utilized her expertise and knowledge. In 1970, Dr. Greene was promoted to the position of senior research chemist. She was subsequently promoted to the position of senior research specialist in 1975.

In addition to her work at Dow, Bettye Greene was active in community service in Midland and was a founding member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a national service group for African-American women (actually, more likely one of the alumni chapters). Greene retired from Dow in 1990 and passed away in Midland on June 16, 1995. [1]

 

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Her doctoral dissertation, "Determination of particle size distributions in emulsions by light scattering" was published in 1965.

Patents:

4968740: Latex-based adhesive prepared by emulsion polymerization
4609434: Composite sheet prepared with stable latexes containing phosphorus surface groups
4506057: Stable latexes containing phosphorus surface groups [2]


Spouse: Veteran Air Force Captain William Miller Greene in 1955, she attended Wayne State University in Detroit, where she earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry working with Wilfred Heller.

Children: Willetta Greene Johnson, Victor M. Greene; Lisa Kianne Greene [2]

 

1. Science History Institute Digital Collections: Dr. Bettye Washington Greene
2. Wikipedia/Bettye_Washington_Greene

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Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown...

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Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown
Image Ownership: Public Domain

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity in Science, Medical Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science


Understanding Nano: Nanotechnology in Medicine

Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown was a medical pioneer, educator, and community leader. In 1948-1949 Brown became the first African American female appointed to a general surgery residency in the de jure racially segregated South. In 1956 Brown became the first unmarried woman in Tennessee authorized to be an adoptive parent, and in 1966 she became the first black woman representative to the state legislature in Tennessee.

Brown was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 7, 1919. Within weeks after she was born, Brown’s unmarried mother Edna Brown moved to upstate New York and placed her five-month-old baby daughter in the predominantly white Troy Orphan Asylum (later renamed Vanderhyden Hall) in Troy, New York. Brown was a demonstrably bright child, and became interested in medicine after she had a tonsillectomy at age five.

When Brown was 13 years old her estranged mother reclaimed her. Subsequently, however, Brown would run away from her mother five times, returning to the orphanage each time. During her teenage years Brown worked at a Chinese laundry, and also as a mother’s helper for Mrs. W.F. Jarrett, who encouraged her desire to become a physician. At age 15, the last time Brown ran away from her mother, she enrolled herself at Troy High School. Realizing that Brown had no place to stay, the principal arranged for Brown to live with Lola and Samuel Wesley Redmon, foster parents who became a major influence in her life and from whom Brown received the security and support she needed until she graduated at the top of her high school class in 1937. Awarded a four-year scholarship by the Troy Conference Methodist Women, in 1941 Brown graduated second in her class from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

During World War II Brown worked as an inspector for the Army Ordnance Department in Rochester, New York. In 1944 Brown began studying medicine at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, receiving her Medical Degree in 1948. After serving a year-long residency internship at Harlem Hospital in New York City, Brown returned to Meharry’s George Hubbard Hospital in 1949 for her five-year residency, becoming Professor of Surgery in 1955.

In the mid-1950s an unmarried patient of Brown’s pleaded with her to adopt her newborn daughter, and in 1956 Brown became the first known single woman to adopt a child in the state of Tennessee. As a tribute to her foster mother, Brown named her daughter Lola Denise Brown.

From 1966 to 1968 Brown served in the Tennessee House of Representatives, where she introduced a controversial bill to reform the state’s abortion law to allow legalized abortions in cases of incest and rape. Brown also co-sponsored legislation that recognized Negro History Week, which later expanded to Black History Month.

 

The Black Past: Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown

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Dr. Gladys W. Royal...

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Dr. Gladys Royal (left), Dr. W. E. Reed (left center), R. L. Satoera (right center) and Dr. George Royal (right), with x-ray equipment, North Carolina A&T College, 1961

By THE AGRICULTURAL AND TECHNICAL, COLLEGE, GREENSBORO, N. C. - THE A&T COLLEGE REGISTER, VOLUME XXXII, No. 8 , FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 1961, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42353373

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity in Science, Biochemistry, Nanotechnology, Women in Science

See: Biochemistry and structural DNA nanotechnology: an evolving symbiotic relationship.


Gladys W. Royal (August 29, 1926 – November 9, 2002) is one of a small number of early African-American biochemists. Part of one of the few African-American husband-and-wife teams in science, Gladys worked with George C. Royal on research supported by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. She later worked for many years as principal biochemist at the Cooperative State Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Royal was also active in the civil rights movement in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Royal was born Gladys Geraldine Williams on August 29, 1926, in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Dillard University with a B.Sc. at the age of 18 in 1944. She married George C. Royal in 1947.

Royal accompanied her husband to Tuskegee, Alabama, where he taught microbiology in 1947-1948, to Ohio State University and Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, where he was a research assistant from 1948 to 1952, and to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro where he became an assistant professor of Bacteriology in 1952. At Tuskegee and Ohio State she took classes; by 1953, she was sufficiently qualified to become a professor of chemistry at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro.

In 1954, Royal received her M.Sc. in organic chemistry from Tuskegee. She had also taken classes at the University of Wisconsin and at Ohio State University, from which she received her Ph.D. in 1954. Her thesis, The Influence of Rations Containing Sodium Acetate and Sodium Propionate on the Composition of Tissues From Feeder Lambs, involved experimental work in flavor chemistry, testing the effects of various feed regimens on the taste of meat.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Royals collaborated on important research including that funded by the United States Atomic Energy Commission involving bone marrow transplants to treat radiation overdoses. Their work had direct relevance to cancer treatment, which used high doses of radiation and could cause tissue damage. It also reflected Cold war fears of possible nuclear attack.

African-American husband-and-wife teams in science were extremely rare in the early and mid-20th century due to the social, educational and economic climate regarding African Americans in the United States.

The Royals had six children: George Calvin Royal III, Geraldine Gynnette Royal, Guericke Christopher Royal, jazz musician Gregory Charles Royal, Michelle Renee McNear, and Eric Marcus Royal.

 

Source: Wikipedia/Gladys_W._Royal

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Dr. Jessica Isabelle Price...

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Image Source: Darq Side Nerdettes dot com

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity in Science, Microbiology, Nanotechnology, Women in Science


January 1, 1930 - November 12, 2015

Dr. Jessie Isabelle Price was a microbiologist best known for developing vaccines for common avian diseases.

Born January 1, 1930, Dr. Price was raised by her single mother who encouraged her children to work hard in school. And that advice paid off when Dr. Price graduated from her predominately white school and was accepted into Cornell University.

But just make sure she was extra ready for college, Dr. Price moved with her mother to Ithaca, New York to take advanced classes in math and English for a year. Fortunately, she didn’t have to worry about paying tuition since her New York residency qualified her for waived tuition fees.

Too bad it didn’t work that way at Cornell.

Dr. Price wanted to be a physician, but couldn’t because of the cost. Instead, she earned a Bachelor of Science in in microbiology from the College of Agriculture in 1953.

Her mentor, Dorsey Buner, suggested she take on post-grad studies, but once again, a lack of sufficient funds cut off her access.

To get around this, Dr. Price worked as a laboratory tech at the Poultry Disease Research Farm in the Veterinary College at Cornell to save post-grad money.

She eventually gained research assistant support from 1956 to 1959 and earned a Masters in veterinary bacteriology, pathology, and parasitology in 1958. Then, she went on to earn her doctorate in 1959 under the supervision of Bruner.

Her dissertation was the start of her path to creating a vaccine. She isolated and reproduced the bacterium, Pasteurella anatipestifer, in white pekin (“Long Island”) ducklings infected with a disease that was a major killer in duck farms.

Dr. Price joined the Cornell Duck Research Laboratory, and worked there from 1959 to 1977 and taught at Long Island University, where she became an adjunct professor.

In 1964, Ebony magazine featured Dr. Price and her work in an extensive photo-essay describing and showing her work on vaccine development, in the Duck Research Laboratory and on the farms.

She was awarded a National Science Foundation travel grant to present her findings at the International Congress for Microbiology in Moscow in 1966.

 

Darq Side Nerdettes - Black Women in STEAM: Dr. Jessie Isabelle Price

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Environmental Justice and ENPs...

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Ecology, Environment, Nanotechnology


Abstract

The production and use of Engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs) or materials containing ENPs has increased astonishingly, leading to increased exposure to workers and consumers. The invention and applications of new materials either create new opportunities or pose new risks and uncertainties. The uncertainties concerning application of ENPs are posing disturbances to the ecosystem and human health. This review first addresses in vitro and in vivo studies conducted on the toxicity of ENPs to animals and humans. Ethical justifications are provided specially with reference to Intergenerational Justice (IRG-J) and Ecological Justice (EC-J). The social benefits and burdens of ENPs are identified for present and future generations. Some mitigation approaches for combating the potential risks posed by ENPs are proposed. Finally, suggestions for the safe handling of ENPs in future are proposed in the review.
 
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The term nanotechnology refers to the science of investigating and manipulating materials at atomic, molecular and macromolecular scale. (Sudarenko, 2013). Nanoparticles (NPs) are known to occur naturally (e.g., volcanic ash and forest fires), accidentally (i.e., unintended human activities) and anthropogenic (e.g., cosmetics and other consumer products). Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) or engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are man made materials produced deliberately for different industrial applications and most commonly having dimension from 1 to 100 nm (Auffan et al., 2009). It is widely acknowledged in the scientific community that ENPs have enormous potential to transform industrial processes in the future thereby shaping how the society and the global economy will function. They have several industrial and domestic applications in consumer products, cosmetics, agriculture, soil and groundwater remediation, electronics, energy storage, biomedical and transportation (Besha et al., 2018; Boldrin et al., 2014).

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) or engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are man made materials produced deliberately for different industrial applications and most commonly having dimension from 1 to 100 nm (Auffan et al., 2009). It is widely acknowledged in the scientific community that ENPs have enormous potential to transform industrial processes in the future thereby shaping how the society and the global economy will function. They have several industrial and domestic applications in consumer products, cosmetics, agriculture, soil and groundwater remediation, electronics, energy storage, biomedical and transportation (Besha et al., 2018; Boldrin et al., 2014).

 

Sustainability and environmental ethics for the application of engineered nanoparticles
Abreham Tesfaye Beshaa, Yanju Liubc, Dawit N. Bekelebc, Zhaomin Dongd, Ravi Naidubc, Gebru Neda Gebremariama

*****


“Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.” Marvin Gaye wasn’t an environmental scientist, but his 1971 single “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” provides a stark and useful environmental analysis, complete with warnings of overcrowding and climate change. The song doesn’t explicitly mention race, but its place in Gaye’s What’s Going On album portrays a black Vietnam veteran, coming back to his segregated community and envisioning the hell that people endure.

Gaye’s prophecies relied on the qualitative data of storytelling—of long-circulated anecdotes and warnings within black communities of bad air and water, poison, and cancer. But those warnings have been buttressed by study after study indicating that people of color face disproportionate risks from pollution, and that polluting industries are often located in the middle of their communities.

Late last week, even as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump administration continued a plan to dismantle many of the institutions built to address those disproportionate risks, researchers embedded in the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment released a study indicating that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air. Specifically, the study finds that people in poverty are exposed to more fine particulate matter than people living above poverty. According to the study’s authors, “results at national, state, and county scales all indicate that non-Whites tend to be burdened disproportionately to Whites.”

 

Trump's EPA Concludes Environmental Racism Is Real
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency finds that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air—even as the agency seeks to roll back regulations on pollution.
Vann R. Newkirk, The Atlantic

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Nanotech and Business...

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Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering: Facebook

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Economics, Nanotechnology


Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) should pursue research in the nanotech sector. Other universities are leveraging significant funding to lead the way in nanotechnology research. For instance, the Institute for Nanotechnology was established as an umbrella organization for the multi-million dollar nanotechnology research efforts at Northwestern University. The role of the Institute is to support meaningful efforts in nanotechnology, house state-of-the-art nanomaterials characterization facilities, and support individual and group efforts aimed at addressing and solving key problems in nanotechnology.As part of this effort, a $34 million, 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly was constructed on the Evanston, Illinois campus. The new facility, which was anchored by a $14 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the first federally funded facilities of its kind in the United States and home to the Institute headquarters.

Since you asked...

The Nano School

Nanotechnology is often referred to as convergent technology because it utilizes knowledge from a diverse array of disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and technology. JSNN has six research focus areas—nanobioscience, nanometrology, nanomaterials (with special emphasis on nanocomposite materials), nanobioelectronics, nanoenergy, and computational nanotechnology.

Our Mission

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) mission is to be a catalyst for breakthrough innovations that provides high-impact academic, industry and government research outcomes.

Our Vision

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) is a collaboration between two high research universities: North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T SU) and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Collaboration will always be a core part of JSNN’s DNA. JSNN will constantly seek out strategic collaborations with other academic institutions, industry and government organizations as a catalyst for continuing to produce research breakthroughs.

To achieve the mission, JSNN recruits students that are the best and brightest men and women from a variety of disciplines to conduct advanced research in Nanoengineering and Nanoscience. Students are challenged to choose a research area that is expected to provide significant benefit to mankind. Beyond becoming exceptional researchers, students will develop leadership and communication skills that will make them an exceptional asset in any academic, industry or government organization.

JSNN is also catalyst for economic development. The Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC) was created as a partnership between Georgia Tech and JSNN, a collaboration of NC A&T and UNCG. SENIC combines the infrastructure strengths of both Georgia Tech and the JSNN to provide academic, industry and government users affordable access to one of the largest and most modern Nano-fabrication and Nano-characterization tool sets in the country.
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Proto Nanotechnologist...

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Professor George Washington Carver, Tuskegee University, History.com 


Topics: African Americans, Biology, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


Part of being in nanotechnology is you get to exercise a bit of creativity and invention. Research is about looking into an area that people know something about, reading a LOT of papers and formulating your own ideas about an approach to a subject. You may either fail miserably at first, or successfully bring about something novel.

George Washington Carver I'm referring to as a proto nanotechnologist. Planting peanuts, soy and sweat potatoes replaced nitrogen other plants like cotton leached from the soil. Though this crop rotation method (introduced by Carver) gave the farmers high yields on the produce they were used to selling, it had the unintended consequence of giving them a surplus of produce for which, there had previously been no market. Carver would go on to invent 300 uses for the peanut, one of which, peanut butter he surprisingly DIDN'T, though I'm sure you've eaten unless you have allergies. If it weren't for him, the farmers in the south would have gone out of business due to a boll weevil infestation that decimated cotton throughout the south. It was a fortuitous confluence of events.

It is in this spirit and the month, I salute Professor George Washington Carver, and hopefully emulate him in my chosen field of making meaning of small things.

George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts (though not peanut butter, as is often claimed), sweet potatoes and soybeans. Born an African American slave a year before slavery was outlawed, Carver left home at a young age to pursue education and would eventually earn a master’s degree in agricultural science from Iowa State University. He would go on to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University for decades, and soon after his death his childhood home would be named a national monument — the first of its kind to honor an African American.

Born on a farm near Diamond, Missouri, the exact date of Carver’s birth is unknown, but it’s thought he was born in January or June of 1864.

Nine years prior, Moses Carver, a white farm owner, purchased George Carver’s mother Mary when she was 13 years old. The elder Carver reportedly was against slavery, but needed help with his 240-acre farm.

When Carver was an infant, he, his mother and his sister were kidnapped from the Carver farm by one of the bands of slave raiders that roamed Missouri during the Civil War era. They were sold in Kentucky.

Moses Carver hired a neighbor to retrieve them, but the neighbor only succeeded in finding George, whom he purchased by trading one of Moses’ finest horses. Carver grew up knowing little about his mother or his father, who had died in an accident before he was born.

 

George Washington Carver, Editors, History.com

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Nanotechnology and People...

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Image Source: Disruption Hub (link below)

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


In the 1950s, physicist Richard Feynman suggested that more could be learned about materials by reducing them to their smallest possible form. This idea laid the foundations for nanotechnology – the study of matter at an atomic or molecular level. Almost 70 years down the line, however, and the field is still in the developmental stages. Nonetheless, the disruptive potential of nanotechnology is so vast that it’s well worth being aware of the technology’s trajectory. The research area is now a broad umbrella term for numerous different branches and projects. But what does it mean for businesses, and what are the obstacles to adoption?

Any technological advance is a disruption. We get the term Luddites from essentially a backlash to economic conditions in England brought on by endless war with France:

The Luddite disturbances started in circumstances at least superficially similar to our own. British working families at the start of the 19th century were enduring economic upheaval and widespread unemployment. A seemingly endless war against Napoleon’s France had brought “the hard pinch of poverty,” wrote Yorkshire historian Frank Peel, to homes “where it had hitherto been a stranger.” Food was scarce and rapidly becoming more costly. Then, on March 11, 1811, in Nottingham, a textile manufacturing center, British troops broke up a crowd of protesters demanding more work and better wages.

That night, angry workers smashed textile machinery in a nearby village. Similar attacks occurred nightly at first, then sporadically, and then in waves, eventually spreading across a 70-mile swath of northern England from Loughborough in the south to Wakefield in the north. Fearing a national movement, the government soon positioned thousands of soldiers to defend factories. Parliament passed a measure to make machine-breaking a capital offense.

But the Luddites were neither as organized nor as dangerous as authorities believed. They set some factories on fire, but mainly they confined themselves to breaking machines. In truth, they inflicted less violence than they encountered. In one of the bloodiest incidents, in April 1812, some 2,000 protesters mobbed a mill near Manchester. The owner ordered his men to fire into the crowd, killing at least 3 and wounding 18. Soldiers killed at least 5 more the next day.

What the Luddites Really Fought Against, Richard Conniff, Smithsonian Magazine

The Internet is an example of technology causing displacement and disruption. The initial lament of the "Information Superhighway" was that communities of color would be cut out because of fiber optics and technological infrastructure. That is mostly true, particularly in rural areas, but the Caveat Emptor I posted about in 2016 is the technology is enabling higher income inequality, thereby frustrations that savvy demagogues take advantage of, without a thought of solving. Some have compensated with the supercomputers in their hip pockets known as smart phones, also a byproduct of nanotechnology.

So, what is nanotechnology? Since I've spent the last 2.5 years completing a Masters and Pursuing a Ph.D. in it, here's my layman's definition of it:

Nanotechnology is anything at the nanoscale, or at 10-9 = 0.000000001 meters. Strange things occur at this scale that would shock you. Gold for example is not yellow: it's blue at some frequencies. It is manipulation of matter at this scale, which is a broad term because it's not just electronics: it's atomic, biological, chemical, molecular and supramolecular engineering to create machines, mechanisms and systems that don't precisely follow macroscopic (where WE are) material rules. Nanoscience is observation and theory at that scale; Nanoengineering is using material specifically at that scale to practical ends.

Stating the above, it's not trivial. You find you have better talents; mine in physics and materials, for example. Some have a background in chemistry and find themselves struggling in computer programming, which they never had to concentrate on, or resources for a proper programming facility in their home countries were scarce. The need to look at it from several angles and be "jack of all trades" is taxing, in a personal admittance.

My observation is: there are a lot of people of color in it, they're just not from the United States. I have as I've stated, many friends from Bangladesh, Chad, China, Korea, India, Iran, Nigeria, Sri Lanka; Sudan I was one of four African Americans (ahem: and the oldest) in the 2017 entering class, there was one in the 2018 class and a married couple from Durham that commutes to Greensboro in the 2019 class. It's slim pickings.

I'm not a xenophobe, but the STEM curriculum in the U.S. at the moment if any introduction is made at all points all students from all cultural backgrounds to the standard science and engineering fields: biology, chemistry, physics; architectural engineering, biological engineering, chemical engineering, engineering physics, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.

So, I'm going to take the month to talk about nanotechnology and people of color, as any technological disruption can be a source of opportunity or another exacerbation of the income inequality we've endured since Plymouth Rock.

I hope it's an introduction to some, an inspiration for others and a continuation to a few already in the area working on the next new thing hopefully beneficial to mankind.

When most people hear the term 'nanotechnology,' they probably think 'microscopic robots' because that is what has been popularized in the movies and television. We're not there yet. Not even close. But there are exciting developments in this new frontier that have the potential to greatly increase human comfort and improve needed products.

Some nanotech products are available today in a number of interesting applications:

Bumpers on cars
Paints and coatings to protect against corrosion, scratches and radiation
Protective and glare-reducing coatings for eyeglasses and cars
Metal-cutting tools
Sunscreens and cosmetics
Longer-lasting tennis balls
Light-weight, stronger tennis rackets
Stain-free clothing and mattresses
Dental-bonding agent
Burn and wound dressings
Ink
Automobile catalytic converters.


Nanotechnology is the manipulation of very small things for practical uses. More specifically, nanotechnology is the science and technology of precisely controlling the structure of matter at the molecular level. Nanotech is widely viewed as the most significant technological frontier currently being explored.

How Will Nanotechnology Affect the African American Community?

Nanotech products will help everyone and could provide unique investment opportunities for African Americans. Some might ask, why does this have to be a racial issue? Historically, blacks have not been allowed to freely participate in free markets for centuries, so we are just a little behind in capitalist development activities (to put it mildly). So new technological frontiers offer potential avenues for blacks to get a foothold. We have yet to make our most incredible discoveries and freed African American imaginations freely participating in the marketplace could be invaluable in nanotechnology development. Already, more than 1,700 companies in 34 nations reportedly are pursuing the commercial promise of nanotechnology. Hopefully, big money investors such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Russell Simmons, Jay-Z and others will take a look at nanotechnology and support entrepreneurs in this area.

 

African American Environmentalist Association: Nanotechnology

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A 34th Anniversary...

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NASA portrait


Topics: African Americans, History, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Dr. Ronald McNair


I am the keynote speaker for the Ron McNair Memorial Luncheon at the Student Center, N.C. A&T State University (but I doubt I'll be eating much food). I've included the following in this post that will appear after my remarks:

1. A 25th Anniversary... January 28, 2011
2. My prepared remarks (with highlighted pauses) below.

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Fermilab and Wakandacon...

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Fermilab intern Tiffany Price connects with Dana Simone Stovall-Savage at Fermilab’s booth. Photo: Bailey Bedford

 

Topics: Afrofuturism, Black Panther, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Women in Science


In July, Fermilab joined Wakandacon in Chicago, the three-day Afro-futuristic celebration of the black experience, nerd culture and science. It was a perfect opportunity to present the public with a broader view of science and who can be a scientist.

Designed to be free from prejudice, Wakandacon included cosplay contests, video game contests, panels on topics such as writing fan fiction as an African American girl, a variety of vendors and more. It embraced the themes of the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” and ran with them.

At the event, members of the Fermilab community discussed the challenges of minorities working in science, promoted opportunities to engage with the lab, and shared scientific demonstrations — including liquid-nitrogen experiments and magnetic levitation. The diverse representatives of Fermilab encouraged attendees to contribute their skills and perspectives to the scientific community to build a more diverse, scientifically advanced future.

Embracing the event’s themes of diversity and advanced science, Mario Lucero, a diversity and inclusion specialist at Fermilab, moderated a panel of four other Fermilab scientists who are members of minority groups. The members recounted the obstacles that they experienced working in technical fields, how they came to find a place at Fermilab, and how they are working to improve Fermilab and the larger STEM community.

“It’s inspiring seeing so many black women and men in a field that historically has been underrepresented for us,” said Ayanna Jones, a chemistry doctoral student from the panel audience. “And for me it is inspiring because I think we all have similar stories and times where it got really hard.”

The speakers’ experiences included people assuming they were incompetent, accusing them of plagiarism without cause, speaking over them and making sexist, racist or micro-aggressive statements. The negative effects of these incidents and other aspects of their career were exacerbated by the lack of mentors to guide them in responding to the particular challenges they faced.

Fermilab scientist Jessica Esquivel shared how it felt to join Fermilab after being the second black woman to graduate from the Syracuse University physics doctoral program, where she often felt ostracized.

“It was a weight lifted off my shoulders. There was diversity,” Esquivel said. “And Fermilab as an institution really cares about equity, diversity and inclusion. And it wasn’t lip service. They value my input and value my work when it came to helping increase diversity in STEM.”

 

Fermilab promotes science and diversity at Wakandacon in Chicago
Bailey Bedford, Fermilab

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True Strength...

 

Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, STEM, Women in Science


"Diversity is our strength, unity is our power." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

U.S. innovation has long drawn inspiration from a mix of scientific disciplines, academic institutions, research laboratories and industries, yet the scientific enterprise’s workforce lacks diversity of another sort, according to testimony before a House panel on May 9.

In remarks delivered to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Shirley Malcom, a senior adviser at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the growing need for a workforce capable of delivering future innovations and meeting the world’s challenges will require “expanding the pool of talent, tapping into the vast well of women, minorities, racial and ethnic, and people with disabilities currently underrepresented in STEM,” the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The perspective delivered by Malcom, who also serves as director of AAAS’ STEM Equity Achievement or SEA Change initiative, were echoed by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, chairwoman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, as well as by each of the four other panelists who joined Malcom in addressing the committee.

“As the rest of the country becomes more diverse, the STEM workforce has been slow to respond,” said Johnson. “In addition, I have watched with dismay for decades as women have made too few gains in the STEM workforce.”

The "STEM Opportunities Act of 2019, a bill that would require more comprehensive demographic data to be collected on recipients of federal research awards and STEM faculty at universities to help identify and reduce barriers that prevent women and underrepresented groups from entering and advancing in STEM."
The caveat: the House bill will likely stall and die in the Senate if not outright vetoed by a recalcitrant, science-phobic administration basing its next reflexive move on what the previous black president favored. It is the insistence on being the center of the story forever; the hero of the plot. It allows a growing inequality based on zip codes, city funding, cultural maturity and opportunity. Most of the aforementioned zip codes will be urban, but a lot of them rural, currently undergoing an opioid crisis and economic opportunities excavated by bad trade policies. Their being over "colored others" is a warped and sadistic feel-good measure but not a solution - similar to the sentiments expressed with a "send her back" chant at a North Carolina Klan rally Wednesday. It is a de facto redlining scheme to keep the country gerrymandered on the status quo of visual differences reinforced by propagandized compulsory education with schlock creation science; entertainment options meant to numb us and media to reinforce our biases. It is not a path forward to a mythologized lost "greatness." It is proto fascism.
 
"You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise."
Representative Ilhan Omar quoting Dr. Maya Angelou on Twitter

It is an open invitation for China to take advantage of this blatant racism and ignorance, powering ahead of us to become the world's dominate superpower. Once our lofty perch among nations is lost, we will likely not recover it. We will be a byword, a proverb and in the inimitable words of our current juvenile chief executive "they are [and will likely be] laughing at us"; that throwaway line against his ardent foe that made him sad at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, prophetically projection.

 

Diverse STEM Workforce Needed to Preserve U.S. Competitiveness, Anne Q. Hoy
Office of Public Programs SEA Change
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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