women_in_science (10)

A Beautiful Life...

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NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (second left) is honored onstage with actors (left to right) Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer - the stars of "Hidden Figures," which focuses on Johnson's work with NASA's Mercury program - during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle is seen standing behind Johnson
(Image: © Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Space.com

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


Despite segregation, setbacks and Jim Crow, Katherine Johnson is one of the many "shoulders of giants" we stand upon.

As alluded to yesterday, nanotechnology is multifaceted: molecular biology, materials science, electrical and mechanical engineering, chemistry and physics. Her specific area was applied mathematics and computer science, without which no data could be analysed post an experiment.

That's what women were called back then: computers. Computer mainframes were just beginning development, the transistor - discovered by William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain - was exploited to reduce payload by the nascent NASA to win the space race against the Russians who launched Sputnik. The spin off from that effort was codified in Moore's law that has given us everything from flash drives to smart phones. The foundation of all this is mathematics - paper, pencil, chalk or dry erase board. The answer sometimes has to be wrestled with and ground out. From the calculus step, one typically encounters an impressive breadth of algebra to wade through.

I particularly thought of Ms. Johnson on a MATLAB (matrix laboratory) assignment coding the Euler equation. Though daunting, my code successfully executed what I asked of it. I did it in the 21st century, where I did not have the indignity of bathrooms designated based on my skin color or gender. I have you, my sister and many other giants to thank for that.

The two things I can say that are most appropriate and respectful to Ms. Johnson's family in this time of their loss:

Thank you.
Godspeed.


HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — NASA says Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who worked on NASA’s early space missions and was portrayed in the film Hidden Figures, about pioneering black female aerospace workers, has died.

In a Monday morning tweet, the space agency said it celebrates her 101 years of life and her legacy of excellence and breaking down racial and social barriers.

 

Pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson of ‘Hidden Figures’ fame has died at 101
The Associated Press on TheGrio.com

#P4TC links:

Admiration and Gratitude...August 27, 2018
Modern Figures 28 February 2017...February 28, 2017
Katherine Johnson...February 2, 2018
Euler's Method...January 17, 2017
Hidden Figures...January 6, 2017

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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. 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]

 

*****


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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Annie Easley...

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Image Source: NASA

Topics: African Americans, Computer Science, NASA, Women in Science


Ms. Easley likely did her great work with a slide rule. It's a lost art, like cursive writing.

Annie Easley had never heard of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) when she read an article about twin sisters who were “human computers” at the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio. The Lab (the predecessor of the NASA Glenn Research Center) was in need of people with strong math skills, and she was in need of a job after recently relocating from Birmingham, Alabama. Two weeks after reading the article, Easley began a career that would span 34 years. She would contribute to numerous programs as a computer scientist, inspire many through her enthusiastic participation in outreach programs, break down barriers for women and people of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and win the admiration and respect of her coworkers.

In 1955, Easley began her career as a “human computer,” doing computations for researchers. This involved analyzing problems and doing calculations by hand. Her earliest work involved running simulations for the newly planned Plum Brook Reactor Facility. When hired, she was one of only four African-American employees at the Lab. In a 2001 interview she said that she had never set out to be a pioneer. “I just have my own attitude. I’m out here to get the job done, and I knew I had the ability to do it, and that’s where my focus was.” Even in the face of discrimination, she persevered. “My head is not in the sand. But my thing is, if I can’t work with you, I will work around you. I was not about to be [so] discouraged that I’d walk away. That may be a solution for some people, but it’s not mine.”

When human computers were replaced by machines, Easley evolved along with the technology. She became an adept computer programmer, using languages like the Formula Translating System (FORTRAN) and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to support a number of NASA’s programs. She developed and implemented code used in researching energy-conversion systems, analyzing alternative power technology—including the battery technology that was used for early hybrid vehicles, as well as for the Centaur upper-stage rocket.

In the 1970s, Easley returned to school to earn her degree in mathematics from Cleveland State, doing much of her coursework while also working full time. A firm believer in education and in her mother’s advice “You can be anything you want to be, but you have to work at it,” Easley was very dedicated in her outreach efforts at NASA. She not only participated in school tutoring programs but was a very active participant in the speaker’s bureau—telling students about NASA’s work and inspiring especially female and minority students to consider STEM careers.

 

NASA biography: Annie Easley, April 23, 1933 - June 25, 2011

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Artemis...

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Artist concept: Mars base


Topics: Mars, Moon, NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight, Women in Science


(Trolling) I'm looking forward to the conspiracy theories on grainy YouTube homemade videos to "prove" the continuing faking of any manned moon landing. o_9

Artemis, in Greek religion, the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and vegetation, and of chastity and childbirth; she was identified by the Romans with Diana. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with our commercial and international partners and establish sustainable exploration by 2028. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

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Artemis: Humanity's Return to the Moon, NASA

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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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