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ComicphysicsScience

Wither: The Many Triumphs and Long Fall of Nuclear Physicist Harriet Brooks. (Women in Science 71)

Reading the life of Harriet Brooks is like watching the gradual, inevitable unfolding of a horror movie.  There’s that same idyllic, promising beginning that suddenly gives way as the heroine puts her hand on the basement door of Ancient Contained Horrors and, no matter how much you shout or plead, …

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AstronomyComicFeaturedScience

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 …

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ChemistryComicScience

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 …

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ComicphysicsQuantum MechanicsScience

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 …

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HazenBacteria
BiologyChemistryComicFeaturedMedicineScience

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 …

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BiologyComicScience

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 …

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ComicFeaturedphysicsScience

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 …

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