Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy DNA Day!

     Today marks 50 years since the landmark papers describing the molecular structure of DNA were published. Due to the X-ray crystallography work of Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick were able to deduce the double helix structure of DNA.
     You can read the three papers online for free here:
Watson, James Dewey; Crick, Francis Harry Compton (1953-04-25). "Molecular structure of nucleic acids; a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid". Nature 171 (4356): 737–738. Read here:

Franklin, Rosalind Elsie; Gosling, Raymond (1953-04-25). "Molecular configuration in sodium thymonucleate". Nature 171 (4356): 740–741. Read it here:

Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick; Stokes, Alexander Rawson; Wilson, Herbert R. (1953-04-25). "Molecular structure of deoxypentose nucleic acids". Nature 171 (4356): 738–740. Read it here:

Happy DNA day!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We Need Women

      Participants in a study on perception were given to nearly identical profiles on a future boss.  The same characteristics were given: smart, driven, hard-working, ect.  The only difference between the two profiles was the name: John or Kate.
     The participants loved John.  he was the boss they all wanted to work with, he sounded like a great guy.  The participants who had Kate profile though, even though it was exactly the same expect for the name, they didn't think they could work with her.  They thought that she sounds too harsh, too focused on her career, might even be kind of a bitch.
     Why is it that the same qualities that are revered in men are the qualities that make women "bitchy"?  The difference is how our society perceives women and men's roles.  It's why women hold 4.2% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies, are less than 20% of engineers in industry, and less than 20% of the seats in congress.  It's why women are 1/3 of the students in MBA classes, but total 2% of CEOs, 6% of top earners and 16% of board members.
    Women are supposed to be the homemakers, but we are not.  Industry needs more women.  Engineering, Science, Math and Technology need more women. Women see things differently, they can find different solutions and they provide new insight into problems that have been ignored by men for years.  Women don't  need to be dissuaded from STEM careers, from high power careers, from jobs that are traditionally "male".  We are strong, and it's ok.  Driven, smart and strong women are NOT bitches.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Some Winter Readings

Here are a few recent reads that I enjoyed:
  • The Poisoner's Handbook, by Deborah Blum.  A historic tale of the birth of pathology and forensic medicine in Jazz age NYC.
  • The Little Book of Pandemics, by Pete Moore.
  • Perfect Match, by Jodi Picoult.
  • The Great Influenza, by John Barry.
  • She's Such a Geek, edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders.  A collection of essays and stories from women in science, technology and engineering. 

If not now, when?

       Laura Rozo, a 20 year old Junior from University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill was diagnosed in 2011 with Rhabdo, the same kind of cancer my younger brother had.  This is a video of her speaking at the TEDx conference in February.  She knew she was dying, and she intended to live life fully.  After her diagnosis, she took flying lessons and went skydiving.  She challenged everyone to live life just as fully as she wanted to, as if they were dying.

       Laura passed away Thursday afternoon (April 11th).  Read the article on her by the school's newspaper: Rest in Peace.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bryce Canyon

     A few weeks ago I got to go to Bryce Canyon as part of a class in Nature Photography.  While it was super cold (-2 the first night), it was really cool.  The first night we shot the sunset and then went out at night to shoot the stars from the canyon.  It was beautiful.
     The second day we went out to shoot the sunrise at 6 am, when it was still bitter cold and dark.  Sadly, it was foggy, so the shots were not very good.  After breakfast, we went back to the canyon and walked all the way down and explored the slot canyons, hoodoos and awesome rocks!  We hiked about 5 miles, down one side, around the bottom, up the other side and around the canyon rim.  It got warm enough that I could get away with only wearing four layers (instead of 6). After that we had some free time to chill.  That night we went to a waterfall and shot some really cool water photos.  We finished up with an astronomy talk at the ranger station and the rangers had telescopes set up to look at Saturn and Orion's Nebula.
     On the last morning, we got up to watch the sunrise.  This time it was clear and beautiful.  I got some great shots of the red rocks glowing with the morning light.  It was a good trip, despite the cold!

Image copyright 2013 by Steffi.  Do not reproduce without permission.