Where’s Her Movie? Computer Scientist, Margaret Hamilton – 9 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Computer Scientist, Margaret Hamilton - 9 in a series

Margaret Heafield Hamilton (born August 17, 1936) is an American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. She was director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo program. She later founded two software companies—Higher Order Software in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hamilton has published more than 130 papers, proceedings and reports about sixty projects and six major programs. She is one of the people credited with coining the term “software engineering”.[1]

On November 22, 2016, Hamilton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from president Barack Obama for her work leading to the development of on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. — Wikipedia

“Pickering’s Harem”, Henrietta Swan Levitt, Edwin Hubble, and More on Women in Science

Research on Edwin Hubble lead me to learn more about this set of female mathematicians – and in that wonderful way the synergy of the world seems to work they were then discussed on a UK comedy game show starring Sandy Toksvig – and I learned even more!

Henrietta Swan Levitt figured out how to measure the distance from the earth of pulsating stars.  Edwin Hubble then used her calculations to discover the Milky Way.  One of the game show guests asks when she gets credit and the answer is – only anecdotally from Hubble reminding people of her work.  Why you might ask?  For two reasons…  

upper body and face of Henrietta Swan Leavitt
Public Domain, Link

First, Levitt was part of what was nicknamed Pickering’s Harem.  Edward Pickering ran the Harvard Observatory and found his male employees who analyzed data from the skies incompetent and slow so one day he said, “My maid could do it better.”  The male staff said “Go ahead” so Pickering did hire a slew of women and as they worked so well he hired more women.  Annie Jump Cannon manually classified 350,000 stars in her career.  Yet, in that way misogyny takes over, rather than call them fellow mathematicians or astronomers, the women became… Pickering’s Harem. I also learned that this lead to the Harem effect — a phenomenon where male executives hire female assistants as they are cheaper and work harder.  The jokes of these game show celebrities reminded me of the misogyny of naming the women Pickering’s Harem.  We didn’t call the men of the Mercury project “Jackie Kennedy’s consorts”.  I mean what a way to demean a set of highly educated women.  

The Second reason Henrietta Swan Levitt did not receive full credit for her discovery is that Swedish mathematician Gösta Mittag-Leffler DID want to nominate Levitt for the 1926 Nobel Prize for Physics – but she had died 4 years earlier and the Prize can’t be awarded posthumously (I wonder what male thought up that dumb rule – and why?).  Thankfully, Hubble always mentioned Levitt – but textbooks do not necessarily.  At the end of the segment the host then covers the many lies Hubble told in his lifetime as a means of polishing his less than elegant background. 

Amazing what you can learn from a UK game show.

Where’s Her Movie? Astronomer, Margaret Harwood – 4 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Astronomer, Margaret Harwood - 4 in a series

Observatory Photo By Versageek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

from Wikipedia…

After graduating college, she worked at the Harvard Observatory and taught in private schools in the Boston area. In 1912, an astronomical fellowship was created for women to work at Maria Mitchell Observatory; Harwood was the first recipient of the fellowship, receiving $1,000.[2][3] In 1916, at 30 years old, Harwood was named director of Mitchell Observatory, and worked there from 1916 until her retirement in 1957.[2] Her specialty, photometry, involved measuring variation in the light of stars and asteroids, particularly that of the small planet Eros. A member of the American Astronomical Society and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, she traveled widely in Europe and the United States. She was the first woman to gain access to the Mount Wilson Observatory, the world’s largest observatory at the time.[4]

In 1917, she discovered the asteroid 886 Washingtonia four days before its formal recognition by George Peters.[5] At the time, “senior people around her advised her not to report it as a new discovery because it was inappropriate that a woman should be thrust into the limelight with such a claim”.[6][7] However, Harwood did send her photographs of her discovery to Peters for him to include in his study of the asteroid’s orbit.[6] In 1960, an asteroid discovered at Palomar, was named in her honor, 7040 Harwood.[6][3]

Mentoris Project Podcast: Dark Labyrinth: A Novel Based On The Life Of Galileo Galilei With Author, Peter David Myers

Mentoris Project Podcast: Dark Labyrinth: A Novel Based On The Life Of Galileo Galilei With Author, Peter David Myers

Mentoris Project Podcast: Dark Labyrinth: A Novel Based On The Life Of Galileo Galilei With Author, Peter David Myers

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From hero to heretic, would he live to see honor again?

Enchanted by the labyrinth of stars above, Italian professor Galileo Galilei was determined to unearth the mysteries held within. It was 1609 and inspired by the newly invented “perspective glass,” which magnified objects on land up to three times their size, Galileo designed prototype after prototype until he achieved an unheard of 20x magnification. He pointed his invention to the heavens and the world would never be the same.

He was the first to see the moon’s craters, Jupiter’s moons, and Saturn’s rings, but when Galileo dared challenge the commonly held belief that the earth was the center of the solar system, the darling of the Medicis and Italy’s elite salon scene was assailed by the most dangerous men and powerful institution of all time. Swift and ruthless, the Inquisition had Galileo in its sights. His crime? Questioning authority and defending a truth he—the rebel later known as the Father of the Scientific Method—had proven.


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Why Don’t We Know Their Names? Whooping Cough Killed 6,000 Kids a Year Before These Ex-Teachers Created a Vaccine

Research for the book I’m in the middle of brought me to learn that the Whooping Cough was invented by two female former teachers.

Much as I love all Jonas Salk did for the world (and gave his patent away for free to help children), WHY wasn’t I ever taught about these women??? — Rosanne

Whooping Cough Killed 6,000 Kids a Year Before These Ex-Teachers Created a Vaccine

Whooping Cough Killed 6,000 Kids a Year Before These Ex-Teachers Created a Vaccine

As the Great Depression raged, scientists Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering developed the first effective pertussis vaccine on a shoestring budget.

After a long day in the laboratory in 1932, Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering walked out into the chilly Michigan evening with specially prepared petri dishes, called cough plates, in tow. The two scientists were on a mission to collect bacteria in the wild: one by one, they visited families ravaged by whooping cough, the deadliest childhood disease of their time. By the dim light of kerosene lamps they asked sick children to cough onto each plate, dimpling the agar gel with tiny specks of the bacteria Bordetella pertussis.

Read the entire article at the History Channel

Mentoris Project Podcast: Relentless Visionary: Alessandro Volta With Author, Michael Berick [Audio]

Mentoris Project Podcast: Relentless Visionary: Alessandro Volta With Author, Michael Berick

Mentoris Project Podcast: Relentless Visionary: Alessandro Volta With Author, Michael Berick [Audio]

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If asked to list important inventors, few remember to include Alessandro Volta. Yet, his is a household name more spoken than that of Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, or even Thomas Edison. That’s because the terms “volt” and “voltage” can be attributed to Volta, the inventor of the “Voltaic pile,” which is recognized as the first electric battery. A product of the Age of Enlightenment—a time when ideas about reason, science, literature and liberty took center stage—Volta employed a very modern, hands-on approach to his work. Though he had no formal education, he was the first person to identify the gas known as methane, and created the first authoritative list of conducting metals. Alessandro Volta saw things not just as they were, but as what they could be. He was a disrupter, an innovator and a visionary. Above all, he was relentless. Without Volta’s hunger to create and his drive to invent and discover, we might not have electric cars, laptops, cellphones, and hearing aids today.

 


About the Author

Michael Berick is a writer and journalist, whose work has appeared in outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, LA Weekly, AAA Westways Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has written about European chocolate destinations, reviewed artist Ed Ruscha’s retrospective, and penned press material for the Grammy-nominated boxset, Battleground Korea: Songs And Sounds Of America’s Forgotten War. He also might possibly be the only music critic to have voted in both the Fids and Kamily Music Awards and the Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop Poll. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Berick currently lives in Los Angeles with wife, playwright/screenwriter Jennifer Maisel, and their daughter and dog.

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Speaking at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference – “From Atoms to Applications”

Speaking at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference - “From Atoms to Applications

Speaking at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference – “From Atoms to Applications”

My talk was Pedagogy of the Flipped Classroom

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Speaking at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference – “From Atoms to Applications

Speaking at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference - “From Atoms to Applications

Speaking at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference – “From Atoms to Applications

My talk was Pedagogy of the Flipped Classroom

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Preparing to speak at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference – “From Atoms to Applications” via My Instagram

Preparing to speak at American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Regional Conference – “From Atoms to Applications”

My talk was Pedagogy of the Flipped Classroom

A complete video and more photos coming soon!

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