She Filled the Sky: The Iron Astronomy of Annie Jump Cannon (Women in Science 70).

350,000 stars classified. It’s one of astronomy’s unbreakable and frankly not even approachable records, the scientific equivalent of the Ripken Streak.  Seven hours a day, six days a week, for forty-four years, one woman bent herself to the task of creating an ultimate chart of the night sky, with each …


Women in Science: The Card Game. Gameplay Review!

Creating a research lab is tough.  You’ve got to recruit people of complementary talents, give them the resources to be successful, and keep them just happy enough to not want to leave but, you know, not too happy.  That dynamic of recruitment and opportunistic head-hunting is at the core of …


The Chemistry of Beauty: Hazel Bishop Betrayed. (Women in Science 69)

Remember a while ago when I said that botanists were the most under-respected members of the scientific community?  Well, that’s true until you consider a branch of science so underappreciated that many disdainfully refuse to even consider its practitioners as “real” scientists at all: cosmetic chemists. Either because they harness …


Book Review: Women in Science: 50 Pioneers Who Changed the World.

Thirty years ago, the genre of Brief Biographical Sketches of Female Scientists offered up a sad handful of essentials: Meyer (1955), Yost (1959), Osen (1974), Rossiter (1982), Ogilvie (1986), aaaaand that was pretty much all we had.  Since 1990, however, there has been a wonderful flowering of the genre: McGrayne …

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Owner of a Lonely Quark: The High Temperature Quantum Chromodynamics of Ágnes Mócsy (Women in Science 68)

When planning a trip to the universe’s first millionth of a second of existence, there are really only two things the canny traveler needs to keep in mind: (1) Don’t pack woolens. At 4 000 000 000 000 degrees Celsius, or some three hundred thousand times hotter than the center …


Fighting Penicillin’s Monster: Elizabeth Hazen and Rachel Brown. (Women in Science 68)

Who (besides, obviously, bacteria) doesn’t love penicillin?  It’s on everybody’s shortlist of the most important things we’ve discovered to improve our lot on this world.  Just a hundred years ago, an infected wound often meant an amputated limb, there being no weapon to stop the spread of infection this side …


When Memory Has Gone: The Neuroscience of Suzanne Corkin (Women in Science 66)

Forgetting is the horrible, beautiful necessity that keeps the past from swallowing the present but that, given too free a hand, picks apart the very strands of selfhood.  As recently as a half century ago, since we didn’t understand memory we had no idea of how to account for its …


She Sang the Arc Electric: Hertha Marks Ayrton (Women in Science 65).

Sometimes, simplicity dooms.  In World War I, chlorine gas rained down upon the British soldiers blearing through their semi-lives in the trenches, killing thousands outright and leaving tens of thousands with permanent neurological damage.  The solution to this tragedy was simplicity itself, an elegant fan designed by a female physicist that, when …