<b>english castles:</b> past the chemists a little bit up the hill, next to the tea rooms<p/><b>scottish castles:</b> atop yonder precipice over a sea of wyrms, gazing mournfully into the viking sunrise, the sky thunderous and wrathful<p/></p>
An English chemist whose work with x-ray crystallography was instrumental to discovering the structures of DNA, viruses, coal, and graphite; she died of breast cancer before she could be awarded the Nobel prize, and her colleagues Watson and Crick are often given sole credit to this day
Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-1958), English chemist and X-ray crystallographer, was most famous on her contributions to the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA, as well as RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. Graduating with a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1945, she briefly went to Paris as a post-doctoral researcher before becoming a research associate at King’s College London in 1951, where she would work on X-ray diffraction, which would later become pivotal to development of the double-helix structure theory of DNA. Eventually leaving King’s College, Franklin moved on to study the molecular structure of viruses at Birkbeck College. In 1958, she died of ovarian cancer when she was just 37. Although her work largely aided 1962 Nobel Prize winners James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins and their discovery of the DNA double helix after her death, the Nobel Committee does not make posthumous nominations. Nevertheless, her work played a monumental role in the field of chemistry, still influencing studies today.
5 brilliant women in science who you’ve probably never heard of
A new book Headstrong: 52 women who changed science and the world, profiles 52 women who are experts in their field, from Nobel Prize winners to lesser-known individuals. Maria Konnikova, author and contributor to the New Yorker said: ‘A woman revolutionised heart surgery. A woman created the standard test given to all newborns to determine their health. A woman was responsible for some of the earliest treatments of previously terminal cancers. We shouldn’t need to be reminded of their names, but we do.’ In the spirit of celebrating women in science, here are five names you should know.
1. Henrietta Leavitt, 1868-1921
Who: American Astronomer What she did for science: Leavitt discovered the ‘period-luminosity relationship’, which enabled astronomers being able to measure the distance between the earth and other galaxies. Leavitt received little recognition in her lifetime.
2. Rosalind Franklin, 1920-1958
Who: English chemist and X-ray crystallographer What she did for science: Franklin made significant contributions to understanding the molecular structure of DNA, which has played a central role in human biology. Sadly she died of ovarian cancer aged 37.
3. Dorothy Hodgkin, 1910-1994
Who: British biochemist
What she did for science: Hodgkin developed protein crystallography, and is considered a pioneer in studies of biomolecules. She also confirmed the structures of penicillin and vitamin B and is the only British woman to have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
4. Chien-Shiung Wu, 1912-1997
Who: Chinese-American experimental physicist What she did for science: Wu made significant contributions in radioactivity research. The ‘Wu experiment’, which contradicted the law of conservation of parity, earned the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics for Wu’s colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang. As well as earning her the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978.
5. Lise Meitner, 1878-1968
Who: Austrian physicist What she did for science: Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize. She is often regarded as one of the clearest examples of a woman being overlooked by the Nobel committee.
Welcome to a whole new work week! I hope you’re not too full of wrath, because it’s METAL MONDAY, and we’re talking about a transition metal named after a Greek goddess that’s probably in your car: palladium (Pd).
The largest use of palladium is in catalytic converters, which transform harmful exhaust pollutants into less toxic substances.
The metal was named in 1802 by English chemist William Hyde Wollaston (pictured above) after the asteroid Pallas – a nickname for the Greek goddess Athena, who slayed a giant of the same name as the asteroid and took his hide as her aegis.
The metal can be found alloyed with gold and other platinum-group metals in places like the Ural Mountains, Australia, and North and South America.
Palladium can be produced in nuclear fission reactors and extracted from spent nuclear fuel, but this method of production is not used.
Happy Birthday OXYGEN. I guess. Words enter language and sometimes words disappear-often as quickly as they appeared. In the transition from the ancient ideas of the ‘four elements’ of earth, air, fire and water, to the modern Periodic table, scientists struggled to understand basic chemical reactions such as oxidation. In 1730 the word phlogiston entered the scientific vocabulary, meaning a hypothetical inflammatory principle, formerly believed to exist in all combustible matter, and later extended to cover reactions such as oxidation. The word came into English from Modern Latin around 1702, which came from the Ancient Greek word φλογιστον phlogiston (1610s in this sense), neuter of φλογιστος phlogistos meaning burnt up, inflammable, from φλογιζειν phlogizein, to set on fire, burn, which came from from φλοχ phlox (genitive phlogos) flame, blaze. The theory was propounded by German chemist George Ernst Stahl in 1702, denied by French chemist Antoine Lavoisier by 1775, defended by English theologian and chemist Joseph Priestley but generally abandoned by 1800. When Lavoisier composed the word oxygen in 1777 (in French, oxygen entered English in 1790), he was reacting to and rejecting the idea of phlogiston, composing his word from the Ancient Greek word oxys meaning sharp or acid and the -gene suffix used to indicate the origin orformation of something. The word was meant to indicate‘acidifying principle’ because it was considered essential in the formation of acids, though this has since been shown not to be true. In fact, when Priestley isolated oxygen for the first time on August 1, 1774 he called it deplhogisticatedair, but Lavoisier’s endeavors a year later meant the end of the phlogiston.
Image of iron oxidation courtesy Dustin Jamison, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 License.
Kid President’s History of Awesome Girls rap(watch here) has been making the rounds of the internet and classrooms and even beyond. Many have asked and we wanted to take a moment to share little about each woman mentioned in the video. While, obviously, we couldn’t include everyone woman who has made history in our video we wanted to at least get as many as we could. Here’s a few!
Susan B. Anthony - suffragist, abolitionist, author, and speaker Gwendolyn Brooks - American poet and teacher, first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize Anne Frank - young author of memoir that helped provide commentary for the terrors of war and its impact on human beings Frida Kahlo - Mexican painter well known for her self-portraits Ruby Bridges - American activist known for being the first black child to attend an all white elementary school in Louisiana Jackie O - First Lady to 35th President of the United States, JFK. Fashion icon. Book editor. Preservationist. Juliette Gordon Low - founder of Girls Scouts of the USA Harriet Beecher Stowe - American abolitionist and author. Best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin Sally Ride - First American woman in space. Physicist and astronaut. Mary Bowser - Freed slave who worked as a Union spy during the Civil War Maya Lin - Designer and artist known for sculpture and landscape art. Designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at age 21. Tina Fey - First female head writer of NBC’s Saturday Night Live Mother Teresa - founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to helping the poor Dorothy Day - American journalist and social activist Rachel Carson - marine bioligist, conservationist, author Julia Child - chef, author, and television personality Serena Williams - professional tennis player. Winner of 4 Olympic gold medals Nellie Bly - Industrialist, inventor, and charity worker who traveled the world in a record-breaking 72 days Jane Goodall - British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace Rosa Parks - African-American Civil Rights activist arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus Helen Keller - first person having deafblindnes to earn a bachelor of arts degree Malala Yousafzai - Pakistani activist for female education and youngest-ever Novel Prize laureate Maya Angelou - author, poet, actress, and civil rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt - American politician, diplomat and activist, longest-serving First Lady of the United States Beverly Cleary - prolific author of children’s literature including many beloved books featuring Ramona Quimby and Ralph S. Mouse Sandra Day O’Connor - first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States Lady Bird Johnson - recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, First Lady of the United States (1963-69) Ruth Muskrat Bronson - Native American educator and cultural activist Rosalind Franklin - English chemist and X-ray crystallographer notable for work in contributions to understanding molecular structure of DNA, RNA, coal, graphite and viruses. Harriet Tubman - African-American abolitionist and humanitarian. Served as Union Spy during Civil War Elizabeth Gurley Flynn - labor leader, activist and feminist who was founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union Stacy Allison - first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest Amelia Earhart - First female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
This is just Part 1! In the next post we’ll share more about some of the others featured in the video including links with how you can get involved and help them as they work to make the world more awesome!