Women working at the U.S. Capitol switchboard.
January 27, 1959
twenty workers, three teamleaders, and one manager at the desk – awesome depiction of workplace hierarchy
Since 2009, Ada Lovelace Day has aimed “to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire.” The day’s namesake, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), was the daughter of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke. Ada, in possession of a keen intellect and deep passion for machinery, was educated in mathematics at the insistence of her mother. Later in life, Ada studied the workings of the Analytical Engine developed by mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. In her notes on the engine, Ada described an algorithm for computing numbers – an algorithm which would distinguish Ada as one of the world’s “first computer programmers.”
In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we present some images from the CHF Archives of women working in various chemistry labs. Click on each photo for additional information.
And for more women in science content, consider taking a look at the films in The Catalyst Series: Women in Chemistry by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
Happy Ada Lovelace Day!
October skywatchers are in for a treat (not a trick) this week. For details on how to see it go here.
Some teens doing homework while listening to music and juggling tweets and texts may actually work better that way, according to an intriguing new study performed by two high-school seniors.
Walls might be the next frontier for urban farming.
“Micro-organisms like algae are like bacteria—it’s one of those things that in our culture people try to get rid of,” Griffa says. “But algae offer incredible potential because of their very intense photosynthetic activity.” Algae take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen while growing. Compared to a tree, micro-algae are about 150 to 200 times more efficient at sucking carbon out of the air.
Mars is about to dodge a cosmic snowball on this Sunday. On October 19, Comet Siding Spring will pass within 88,000 miles of Mars – just one third of the distance from the Earth to the Moon! Traveling at 33 miles per second and weighing as much as a small mountain, the comet hails from the outer fringes of our solar system, originating in a region of icy debris known as the Oort cloud.
Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. Since this is Comet Siding Spring’s first trip through the inner solar system, scientists are excited to learn more about its composition and the effects of its gas and dust on the Mars upper atmosphere. NASA will be watching closely before, during, and after the flyby with its entire fleet of Mars orbiters and rovers, along with the Hubble Space Telescope and dozens of instruments on Earth. The encounter is certain to teach us more about Oort cloud comets, the Martian atmosphere, and the solar system’s earliest ingredients.
- For more information, click here
There’s an interesting thing about ancient China, because if you read through the history, almost every single major invention of the world was invented in China first, and sometimes it took hundred of years for each to either it to make it’s way to Western Europe or to be reinvented in Western Europe. That includes paper, printing, steel, gunpowder, the compass, rudder, suspension bridges, etc. It’s almost everything, and for a long time China led the world in civilization because it was able to make these things long before anyone else. But there was one invention that China did not invent, and it would turn out to be the most important invention, and that was the invention of the scientific method.
There’s still a question about why China didn’t invent that, which was invented in the West. Because of that one invention, the West suddenly had a method for inventing new things and finding new things that was so superior that it just blew past all the great inventions of China and invented so many more things because of the power of this one invention. And that invention—the scientific method—is not a single thing. It’s actually a process with many ingredients, and the scientific method itself has actually been changing. In the very beginning it was very simple, a couple of processes like a controlled experiment, having a control, being able to repeat things, having to have a proof. We tend to think of the scientific method as sort of a whole—as fixed in time with a certain character. But lots of things that we assume or we now associate with the scientific method were only invented recently, some of them only as recently as 50 years ago—things like a double blind experiment or the invention of the placebo or random sampling were all incredibly recent additions to the scientific method. In 50 years from now the scientific method will have changed more than it has in the past 400 years just as everything else has.
So the scientific method is still changing over time. It’s an invention that we’re still evolving and refining. It’s a technology. It’s a process technology, but it’s probably the most important process and technology that we have, but that is still undergoing evolution refinement and advancement and we are adding new things to this invention. We’re adding things like a triple blind experiment or multiple authors or quantified self where you have experiment of N equals one. We’re doing things like saving negative results and transmitting those. There’s many, many things happening with the scientific method itself—as a technology—that we’re also improving over time, and that will affect all the other technologies that we make.
Here are some pictures from India’s Mangalyaan spacecraft.
Oh and here’s the stereotype-breaking picture showing a group of female scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) congratulating one another on the mission’s success:
Researchers publishing some groundbreaking findings today in the journal Science have concluded that poverty imposes such a massive cognitive load on the poor that they have little bandwidth left over to do many of the things that might lift them out of poverty – like go to night school, or search for a new job, or even remember to pay bills on time.
When your bandwidth is loaded, in the case of the poor,” Shafir says, “you’re just more likely to not notice things, you’re more likely to not resist things you ought to resist, you’re more likely to forget things, you’re going to have less patience, less attention to devote to your children when they come back from school.
"When you watch German musician Anna-Maria Hefele demonstrate a few polyphonic overtone singing techniques, you will get chills.
Watch Hefele show off her perfect control, as she is able to sustain one constant low note, while simultaneously singing a high-pitched scale. It seems impossible that the sounds are coming from just one woman, and Hefele’s vocal control might leave you wondering if she is even human.” x
what the what
what in the… what
A TINY LEGO FLUID LAB BUILT WITH 3D PRINTING
When you need to manipulate and direct fluids in small volumes, microfluidic systems are the technology of choice.
Used by engineers, chemists and biotechnologists in applications from enzymatic and DNA analysis to the detection of pathogens to clinical diagnostic testing and synthetic chemistry, the tiny systems once required a clean room to create and thousands of dollars to manufacture. They also required numerous iterations to achieve the required complexity.
Sometimes called a “Lab-on-a-Chip,” the systems are now, through the work of USC researcher Krisna Bhargava, designed as 3D printable sets of building blocks which researchers can clip together in hours. The 1cc blocks can accomplish LOC functions like routing, mixing or analysis in three-dimensions. The researchers say a large share of the success in the fabrication process came as a result of recent advancements in high-resolution, 3D printing.
Full Story: 3Dprinterworld
I don’t know what happened to the Future. It’s as if we lost our ability, or our will, to envision anything beyond the next hundred years or so, as if we lacked the fundamental faith that there will in fact be any future at all beyond that not-too- distant date. Or maybe we stopped talking about the Future around the time that, with its microchips and its twenty-four-hour news cycles, it arrived.
Michael Chabon, The Omega Glory
Futurelessness is an attribute of the postnormal era. We are confronted with so much fog — from a cascade of ambiguities, the dissolution of institutions and the collapse of solidarity, and the growing complexities of an incestuously interconnected world — that we are blocked from envisioning some extrapolated arc of history over the event horizon. And there is so much appearing and smacking us in the face everyday, it’s as if the present has been colonized by the future. As William S. Burroughs put it,
When you cut into the present the future leaks out.