the tragedy of dian fossey. (women in science 64)

There are people to whom it is given to wait alone on humanity’s dark edge and stand against all the worst of our collective impulses:  our greed, our indifference, our manic need for glory, our revelry in the conquering of the unfortunate and powerless, everything that civilization struggles daily to …


The Billion Roads From Here to There: The Graph Theory Combinatorics of Fan Chung (Women in Science 63)

“Well, some go this way, some go that way.  But as for me, myself, personally, I prefer the short-cut.” – The Cheshire Cat   Every morning we wake to a deafening barrage of choice, decisions that crackle and branch to more choices and more decisions that daunt enumeration.  How can …

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WIP Weekend: Making Women in Science.

Why hello there!  It’s Dale, the chap who writes the Women in Science cartoon column here every other Wednesday, and today I’m going to pull back the curtain a bit on how that column gets put together, both to satisfy the twos and threes of people who might be curious …


From ATP to MRI: Mildred Cohn’s Pioneering Work in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (Women in Science 62)

ATP is the stuff of life.  Without it, cell communication shuts down, muscles freeze, and anything requiring ready energy (which is to say, darn near everything) stops.  For biologists, it’s a critically important molecule to understand, but most of its secrets remained locked up until one person, who was very …


A Bay of Botany: Alice Eastwood’s Nine Decades and Three Hundred Thousand Specimens. (Women in Science 61)

April 18, 1906, and Alice Eastwood’s lunch bag hangs casually from a mastodon’s tusk while outside, a proud city burns.  It’s the morning of the great San Francisco earthquake and Eastwood’s first response is not to secure the protection of her own home and valuables, but to run to the …


Trajectories: Katherine Johnson’s Orbital Mathematics. (Women in Science 60)

Before NASA, there was NACA, an oddball collection of aeronautics nerds using black box data and wind tunnel analysis to figure out as much as they could about the science of flight.  Calculations, done almost entirely by hand, were the coursing lifeblood of the organization.  Those calculations were handled by …

BiologyComicScience & Nature

Capping the Chromosome: Elizabeth Blackburn and the Discovery of Telomerase (Women in Science 59)

Telomerase is one of those enzymes which just won’t let you come to a settled opinion.  When it runs wild, it promotes cancer. But it also protects each and every one of your chromosomes faithfully, ensuring that your cells don’t hurl themselves into an early death.  It can be an evil …

ComicfeminismMedicineScience & Nature

Lavinia Waterhouse: Gold Rush Physician, Frontier Suffragette. (Women in Science 58).

Lavinia Waterhouse (1809-1890) lives at the intersection of a tangle of ideas that, to the 21st Century mind, have no business being together.  She was a physician practicing in the midst of California’s Gold Rush who was also a Spiritualist who was also a poet and artist who was also …