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this week ~ Mole Day!
october 23, 2015

Stability can only be attained by inactive matter.
new design
bonds + electrons

Happy Mole Day!

It may be unofficial, but it’s a favorite holiday among chemistry practitioners + science enthusiasts. The date is a nod to Avogadro’s Number ~ a constant {6.02 x 1023} that describes how many molecules of a substance are contained within one “mole.”

In 1911, Marie Curie became the first female Nobel laureate in chemistry. Her feat? Adding 2 new elements ~ radium + polonium ~ to the periodic table. Marie also became the first person {female or male} to win 2 of the prestigious Nobel prizes!

The above quote is from Marie’s Nobel lecture...it’s one of those scientific principles that reads like priceless wisdom. Here are quotes + stories from chem + STEM heroes ~ scientists whose work continues to catalyze imaginations.


Rosalind Franklin
the dark lady of DNA

Rosalind Franklin_newsletter

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”
source it! Rosalind Franklin

~ a Notting Hill native who luckily went to one of the few girls’ schools that taught science

~ a Cambridge alum who earned her BS + PhD in physical chemistry

~ a researcher who learned x-ray crystallography in a Paris lab + returned to London’s King’s College as an authority in the field

Rosalind Franklin is perhaps most famous for the Nobel Prize in Medicine she didn’t win. Watson + Crick ~ along with Rosalind’s reluctant King’s College research partner, Maurice Wilkins ~ took the top honor in 1962. Their winning theory was based on Rosalind’s “photo 51” ~ the magnified x-ray image that proved DNA had a helical structure.

The double-helix model of DNA had huge implications for molecular biology. It set the stage for understanding hereditary diseases + mapping the human genome. Rosalind’s scientific vocation ~ a calling since the age of 15 ~ was always premised on improving “everyday life.”

She took a break from her PhD work on carbon microstructures to do her part for the British Coal Utilization Research Association during WWII. After her DNA research, Rosalind went on to study plant blight + polio before her inspired life was cut short by ovarian cancer when she was just 37.

Rosalind had to fight her own father to become a scientist. He himself had aspirations of being a physicist but didn’t approve of higher ed for women. See highlights from their heated father-daughter correspondence...

Rosalind Franklin

Ada Yonath
the woman with a head full of ribosomes

Ada Yonath_newsletter

“I had to solve things doubt by doubt.”
source it! Ada Yonath

~ a girl born into a poor Zionist family in Jerusalem at the start of WWII

~ an avid student who worked her way through high school + college

~ the 4th woman in 107 years to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

How did Ada Yonath win a Nobel in 2009? By doing something most scientists said could not be done.

The chemist returned from postdocs at Carnegie Mellon + MIT to found Israel’s first protein crystallography lab in 1970. Her life’s mission? To capture the complex structure of ribosomes {our cells’ protein factories}. Ada’s big breakthrough came from an unlikely source ~ a concussion + polar bears.

While laid up after a bike accident, she happened to read an article about the closely packed ribosomes of hibernating polar bears. She figured if she could mirror the arctic animals’ natural adaptations in a test tube, she would finally be able to crystallize our cells’ mysterious molecular machinery. The wild idea paid off. After a quarter-century spent on a seemingly insoluble problem, Ada’s process helped create science’s first map of the ribosome. In Israel, the term “ribosome” also refers to hair ~ so, Ada’s affectionate nickname is “the woman with a head full of ribosomes.”

Ada’s work has important practical applications for advanced medicine, especially for antibiotics {many of which function by paralyzing bacterial ribosomes}. But, the crystallographer’s main motivation was pure inquisitiveness. Discover why she’s all for “curiosity-based” science...

Ada Yonath

Reagan Flowers
the C-STEM champion

Reagan Flowers_newsletter

"Everything starts from a single idea."
source it! Reagan Flowers

~ a Detroit student who “beat the odds” with the help of some inspirational teachers

~ a Texas high school science teacher turned national STEM educator

~ a 2014 White House STEM Access Champion of Change

Between 5th + 6th grade, Reagan Flowers went from a struggling student who didn’t know her multiplication tables to an honor-roll standout. The force behind the change? Engaging, dedicated teachers. Reagan’s school experiences inspired her to become an educator herself, one committed to empowering kids who ~ like her ~ might otherwise have fallen through the cracks.

In 2002, Reagan founded C-STEM ~ a hands-on, project-based curriculum to enrich K-12 science education. What does the “C” stand for? “Communication.” It’s a 5th initial that Reagan thinks is essential for anyone in science + math fields if they want their work to reach out + change the world. C-STEM’s tagline is the cornerstone of Reagan’s interdisciplinary teaching philosophy ~ “Everyone is an artist and an engineer.”

How does Reagan motivate young scientists? With competitions that pose creative, real-world challenges designed by industry insiders. The C-STEM program asks students to build sea-turtle robots, invent green machines to generate renewable energy + create clean water systems.

In 2014 alone, C-STEM reached 30,000 kids, 89% who identified as minorities. Hear more about how Reagan’s program is preparing students “for a future they have not dreamed for themselves...”

Reagan Flowers

catalyze imaginations
Science meets storytelling. Order a book through Quotabelle, and help us discover more STEM heroes.
coming soon…
market place

Madame Curie Biography Eve
CSTEM Challenge Approach Hands - Project Based
Women Scientists Reflections Challenges Boundaries
Rosalind Franklin Dark Lady DNA
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

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from our #citeseers
This chemist ~ honored by UNESCO for her work to minimize the environmental impacts of the oil industry ~ was the first female head of a major Middle-Eastern university...

When you are doing research, you have to be very patient, very responsible, very honest. Science is an international language.

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