Daily Inspiration- Women in Science

My favorite morning ritual after I get to school is to grab coffee with friends, then spend a few minutes checking my favorite blogs and the new ASAP research articles on Feedly. I regularly follow about 70 different blogs and feeds, ranging from fashion to photography to science to NPR. Having this much variety at my fingertips gives me inspiration in all avenues of my life- sometimes in unexpected ways.

I’m a regular reader of Miss Moss‘s lifestyle blog because I love her aesthetic: simple, elegant, but with a punch. I have to thank her for clueing me into the Women in Science photograph collection in the Smithsonian Archives.

Here are a few of my favorites:


Ruth Colvin Starrett McGuire (1893-1950) was plant pathologist known for her work on sugar cane diseases.

20140212_mary blade

Mary Plumb Blade (1913-1994) was one of the first women to hold an engineering faculty position in the United States. She taught drawing, mathematics and design, and was an accomplished mountain climber.


Jane Blankenship Gibson (photo c.1961) grew up spending her summers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she was mentored by her father, a physical chemist. After getting her degree, she became a spectroscopist for Lockheed Martin.

You gotta love these strong, knowledge-seeking women who chased after the unknown and weren’t afraid of a little adventure. Because isn’t that what science is all about?

I think I’ve found my inspiration… time to get to work!


“You begin with…

“You begin with the possibilities of the material”
-Robert Raschenburg

I find myself at the beginning, once again. The beginning of the week, the beginning of this blog, the beginning of a new research project. I am filled with a sense of bewilderment, that feeling that I know absolutely nothing. Its… uncomfortable. The funny thing is, just when you think you have a firm grasp on life, life will change. And then you must begin again. I am starting to embrace that we are not meant to become comfortable with life. Change can be a wonderful blessing, however scary it may be.

This quote by Pop artist Robert Raschenburg spoke to me this morning, in the midst of my bewilderment. It reminds me to look towards the materials I choose in order to answer the questions I face, not towards myself. Takes the pressure off a bit. Of course, Raschenburg was talking about art, not science… or was he? He was known to use odd mixtures of materials and found objects in his artwork. The juxtaposition of the media he chose was the genius behind his work. I think the most exciting scientific results are those that discover a new phenomenon or application for a material that already exists. But see, it was not the scientist that created the phenomenon. Rather, it was there all along-  just an intrinsic property of the material, waiting to be discovered. It is the scientist’s challenge (and gift) to explore the material and then to think outside of the box.