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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

BiologyComicScience & Nature

Vibrating Spiders and Waggling Bees: Madeline Girard’s Multi-Modal Menagerie. (Women in Science 57)

It’s not what you say, it’s how you vibrate your opisthosoma while you’re saying it.                                                                         – Ancient Peacock Spider Proverb.              We humans tend to think very highly of our behavioral complexity.  Two people out on a date are a jaunty jamboree of visual, olfactory, and linguistic cues simultaneously …

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BiologyComicFeaturedMedicineScience & Nature

Blue Babies with Crossword Puzzle Hearts: The Pediatric Cardiology of Helen Taussig. (Women in Science 56)

It’s sometime in the 1930s, and you’re walking into a ward full of crouching children with blue-tinted lips.  Something is wrong with their hearts, something that is preventing their blood from getting enough oxygen, turning the red fluid a deep, thick black.  At the slightest exertion, the children can pass …