Skepchick Quickies, 8.26


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Female scientists is actually rather tough for me. Marie Curie of course, but then who? I don’t think Ada Lovelace counts as a scientist. Is Carolyn Porco famous enough? I remember a bunch more by what they did, but I haven’t the foggiest what their names are. There was the women on who did much of the early crystallography work on DNA that Watson and Crick took all the credit for. Then there was the female astronomer that did the early surveys of stellar spectroscopy. Help me, google!

    I’m pathetic.

  2. @davew: DNA structure was Rosalind Franklin.

    @Skepotter: Was just about to mention Liz Loftus. Good one! Skeptics have to love her for fallibility of memory work, and she lectured one of my classes in undergrad.

  3. Dr. Rachie!

    Other than the women scientist that I know personally or follow on Twitter, it is hard to think of some historical ones. I know some of the discoveries that were done by women, but I doubt I could name the actual scientist.

  4. My informal Facebook poll has produced the following list:

    Beaverly Crusher.
    Sally Ride, Jane Goodall
    Jane goodal. Spelling may be wrong due to sleepy
    Kathleen Antonelli

    And a friend handed me a list:
    Lady Ada Lovelace
    Rosalind Franklin
    Rachael Carson

  5. Mary Anning, who could be considered one of the very first paleontologists. Also, little-known fact: children’s author Beatrix Potter was also a well-respected mycologist (fungi scientist).

  6. As long as we’re listing I’ll throw in Grace Hopper one of the pioneers of computer science. (I had to google her name, though. Still pathetic.)

    @Mark Hall: Beaverly Crusher

    Wasn’t she in _Star Trek the Nude Generation_?

  7. A few months ago, our local skeptics book club read “The Madame Curie Complex” by Julie Des Jardins. It was a fascinating history of women scientists, including Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin (shares my birthday – woot), Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, the Harvard astronomy “computers”, Barbara McClintock, Maria Goeppert Mayer, Rosalind Yallow, Rachel Carson, and many others you’ve probably never heard of.

    @MarlowePI: I think Beatrix Potter was the 1st person who realized lichens are not single plants but symbiotic associations of fungi and algae.

  8. Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD – groundbreaking discovery of the enzyme telomerase

    Joan Steitz, PhD – best known for discovering and defining the function of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in pre-messenger RNA

    They shared the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine (a $500,000 prize) in 2008.

  9. Still says something about history and culture and current society that even a generally well educated group is not likely to come up with many names of female scientists.

    PS – I’m wondering what the zombies are going to spend their settlement money on.

  10. Also don’t want to leave out Linda Buck, cloned and characterized olfactory receptors, won ’04 Nobel Prize.

    It probably sounds like we’re trying to prove that the readership here is more savvy than the British public, but these women are important to talk about, especially for those of us with daughters.

  11. @davew:

    I don’t think Ada Lovelace counts as a scientist.

    I thought of Grace Hopper, but someone who makes something work in a useful fashion is an engineer, not a scientist. For some reason there are more famous scientsts than famous engineers.

  12. Is giving up gluten a way to lose weight?


    Some who give up gluten do lose weight, but it’s likely because they have an intolerance which was resulting in malnourishment (which results in weight gain as often as it results in weight loss). Alternately, they may have incidentally ended up doing an Atkins-style diet. But, honestly, most of the alternative starches are much more calorie dense without any substantial gain in nutrients or fiber.

    There’s also ZERO evidence that a GF (and casein free) diet results in any behavior improvement in children with autism (and some good evidence that it doesn’t help a bit).

    But, for the record, I hope this trend lasts as long as possible. It would be very hard to feed my husband if companies stopped caring about gluten. :(

  13. Guess I have to admit t my inner ‘pig’ for a moment and name 3 that stick out in my mind…
    Wouldn’t Dr Karen Stollznow count? Isn’t investigating real-world claims still science?
    Of course, there’s also Dr Krissy Wilson (who for some reason makes me think of a science-minded Hermoine).
    Honorable mention to Kari Byron.
    *awaits his lambasting*

  14. Hmm I guess we just need more “famous women Scientist days”.

    I am personally a big fan of Rosalind Franklin and Dorothy Hodgkins arguably two of the most important names associated with X-ray crystollography.
    Also Barbara McClintock has to be mentioned for discovering transposons. And for being one of the most under apprechiated scientists along with Franklin.

    As for people who are still alive, I guess I hear the most about Susan Greenfield and Susan Blackmore, at least in the UK.

  15. Does Dr Temperence Brennan (Bones) count? Or would that need to be Kathy Reichs?

    I am sad that the first famous female scientist that came to my mind was fictional….. got to start watching less TV.

  16. I find it ironic that the article doesn’t offer a list of woman scientists itself, which is what I expected it to do when I opened it up.
    Perhaps they couldn’t think of any…

    Has anyone mentioned Pamela Ronald yet? Geneticist at UC Davis

  17. @whatbluedot:

    I feel the same way. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease six years ago, and I’ve seen an enormous increase in gf specialty foods. But I’ve also heard people in book stores saying “so and so lost weight when they switched to gf, so I will too.” CD can cause bloating, and getting used to a restrictive diet can result in eating less. So basically people with CD may lose a few inches of waistline and then lose some weight in the beginning. But you do put it all back on once you discover gf brownies and pizza.

    There’s a restaurant in my area that is 100% gf…. and sells woo out the wazoo. And claims that gf is anti-autism, anti-depression, anti-… name your condition here. They have great food, and if it weren’t for the woo I’m not sure they would be around, but I still feel weird eating there.

    BTW GF Bisquick! BISQUICK! I’m so psyched!

  18. @deadmike “I wish I was a zombie – could use the cash.”
    Just wanted to say that made me chuckle as I was finally reading Skepchick at 2:30am.

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