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Instant Reaction: Women in Science

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Jean Berko Gleason kicks off the 2011 Spotlight: Women in Science

A thoroughly enraptured crowd at the 2011 Spotlight event


At the Galapagos Art Space under the Manhattan Bridge, with candles and cocktails reflected in dark pools below, five scientists shared what they research, why they do it, and what it means for each of them, personally, to be a woman scientist.


“In the 50’s, it was a very different life… If we went to the library, the Harvard men would get so excited they couldn’t get any work done — or at least that was the thinking.” – Jean Berko Gleason, Professor Emerita of psychology at Boston University

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be an explorer. But because I am vain and don’t want to get scurvy and lose my teeth, I became a cosmologist.” – Priyamvada Natarajan, cosmologist at Yale University

“If you know what you’re doing, you simply shouldn’t be doing it.” – Joy Hirsch, neuroscientist at Columbia University

“Where is the female cryptographer? We’re probably 10 percent of the field, if I’m counting everyone twice.” – Tal Rabin, cryptographer at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

“I knew nothing of the real world but I learned from Ed Wilson about ants… This may seem cheesy but it changed the way I looked at the world.” – Corina Tarnita, mathematician at Harvard University


“Like the cryptographer—it’s a male-dominated field but it really shouldn’t be, or I guess it shouldn’t matter.” – Bearded twenty-something after the session

“I read positive feedback from around the world when I was tweeting it.” – Woman sipping wine about the session

“Tal Rabin explained important area of cryptography with Where’s Waldo. Brilliant.” –@oliviakoski, via twitter

“Best sentence ever that’s scientifically accurate: ‘information comes into your brain through the holes in your head.’ ~Joy Hirsch” – @Summer_Ash, via twitter

Spotlight: Women 9n Science took place on Thursday, June 2, 2011.

Photos by leslieimage.com


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