HeLa

HeLa
Henrietta

If nothing else Black History Month is making visible, people and events hitherto unsung.

Also this month we will celebrate women from STEM.  Science Maggie Aderin Pocock is the obvious choice.  Technology, Anne-Marie Imafidon, and the NASA women, hidden figures, see below.   Can anyone help with a woman engineer, preferably British?

HeLa

It sounds like a name of a chemical from the Periodic table. Say it out loud. A HeLa cell is used in scientific research. It is one of the oldest and most commonly used human cell lines, in research. Cells taken without permission from a black woman suffering from cancer, in the only hospital to take black patients. She later died in great pain, but she left an incredible heritage, as hers were the only cells grown in a lab which would survive for more than a few days. These cells of hers were considered the first immortal cells and were produced and used to  research everything  from  polio, to aids and cancer.

photo of HeLa

Henrietta Lacks from Wikipaedia

The Henrietta Lacks Foundation was founded  by Rebecca Skloot,

author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

It is believed that over 20 tons of her cells have been produced, for research, yet no one knew, until her family were asked to provide a genetic history. She is finally recognized on October 11, in Atlanta, Georgia, Henrietta Lacks’ Day.    The school  Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School in Washington commemorates her. It is so fitting that the 4 letters chosen, for the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks should result in the word Healer.

©2017ionthecity.com

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It’s Black History Month!

It’s Black History Month!

Time to celebrate the amazing women who’ve achieved in their field. But first a quick look at NASA celebrating the “Hidden Women” .  The Afro-American women who worked as Mathematicians for NASA. You can read about just 15 here.

Kathleen Johnson

She also verified the calculations made by an electronic computer for John Glenn’s orbit – at Glenn’s request – and for Apollo 11’s trajectory to the moon.

In fact, so great was the trust in her that when electronic computers began to emerge, the physicists and astronauts frequently would ask Johnson to double-check the computer’s figures — just to be sure.

©2017ionthecity.com

Nicola Williams is the first Ombudsman for the Military.

Nicola Williams is the first Ombudsman for the Military.

“While the power structure is still largely white male from a certain social certain class, a white man of a certain age, 50s and 60 will have his consciousness raised through his daughters. As they get older, they are more aware of age discrimination. They want their girls to have the opportunities they had.”

Nicola Williams becomes the Ombudsman for the armed services

Portrait of new Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces Nicola Williams

Previously she was the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC), which gives her oversight of how complaints are dealt with in all three sections of the military: Army, Navy and Air-force. Her previous post was as Ombudsman to the Cayman Islands, taking her back to her Caribbean roots.

Not bad going for a black girl growing up in South London, where her teacher’s expectation at A levels was to advise her to get a job in Woolworth.

Nicola Williams trained first as a lawyer, then barrister, then judge, Continue reading

“I want to retire to Mars”

 “I want to retire to Mars”

 New Presenter of Sky at Night on BBC 

Professor Maggie Aderin Pocock

Who do you think you are?

I define myself as a Scientist, first and foremost.   Also as a Communicator, but that came much later.   As a Scientist I have a brilliant job, I travel the world. Science can change peoples’ lives – we can save peoples’ lives! That’s one of my lifelong aspirations; to communicate my passion to others.

The Science Communicator

The Science Communicator

 I like going into Inner City schools.  I live for that.

The child who did not speak

http://vimeo.com/38422243

The best thing that happened to me was at a mixed ability school which included some deaf children, one of whom was a voluntary mute.   In the middle of my talk he suddenly started asking his teacher questions, “What happens if two universes collide?”   To think the universe can inspire so much!

My two role models  are a bit odd! Continue reading

The Royal Society Science Prize

The Royal Society Science Prize

 

Cordelia Fine wins the Royal Society Science Prize

Winner of the Royal Society Science Prize 2017   Courtesy of RS.

“Suppose a researcher were to ask you

what are males and females like?

Would you stare at the researcher blankly and exclaim, “But what can you mean? Every person is a unique, multifaceted, sometimes even contradictory individual, and with such an astonishing range of personality within each sex, and across contests, social class, age, experience, educational level, sexuality and ethnicity, it would be pointless and meaningless to attempt to pigeonhole such rich complexity and variability into two crude stereotypes?”
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine

Cordelia Fine’s previous book, The Gender Delusion told it like it is, but her latest Testosterone Rex, has won the prestigious Royal Society Science Prize a great achievement and victory for woman sense.  Photograph courtesy of the Royal Society.

Women are in the news quite literally this week, as Women in Journalism (WIJ) gathered at LSE with a token male editor, who more than held his own. They were there to discuss the representation of women in media, especially newspapers. Women as writers of articles but also as the subject or articles, other than celebrities and royals. with news appearing in online newspapers and also social media, it was a wide ranging discussion. Continue reading

Bird in a Bi-Plane

The Plane and the Journeys

Tracey Curtis Taylor flies a Stearman bi-plane.

Re-creating historical flights of women pilots

Tracey with her plane the Stearman

Tracey prepares to take off

“Flying a vintage aeroplane and flying a light modern aircraft with a glass cockpit is as different as chalk and cheese. It is the difference different between riding a bike and being in a car. Back in 1930 there was no airspace. Amy Johnson had open skies. One of my difficulties is going through complicated airspace, international boundaries. Flying in an open cockpit, with stick and rudder is very different.
“A model light aircraft has instruments in a covered controlled environment. They are flying high riding the airwaves and can fly at night, on autopilot. I don’t have that. I have to be able to see the ground, no cloud, and must have forward vision. No night flying.

portrait amy Johnson and Tracey

Tracey in front of her heroine Amy Johnson

“It is very physical flying, a lot of noise, vibration, changing temperatures, I am flying 1000 feet above the ground, sometimes lower. I do have some modern instruments. I have a radio which Amy Johnson didn’t have. Continue reading

The Chair of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Interview with Vikki Heywood,
Chairman(sic) of the RSA

Chair of the RSA

(Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

“Over my career I’ve developed  an understanding of the complexity of human relationships and the desire to engage with both your own creativity and the creativity of others, and how it enables you to think through your life and the world around you.

Continue reading