Women in STEM: Meet the lab equipment

Hello flog!

Today we continued lab work… so I will tell you about the names that we have given all of the lab equipment.

Once upon a time when we in August of 2018 when the new Ison lab was being set up/boxes being emptied it was decided that all of the lab equipment should be named after women in STEM. Thus began the quest to find the perfect name for each equipment. The we started with Rosalind Franklin the new thermocycler. This is a perfect name for a thermocycler because Franklin is famous for her X-ray crystallography work that determined the structure of DNA. Franklin died of ovarian cancer before the Nobel Prize was awarded for determining the structure of DNA making her unable to receive the award that she deserved. Our other thermocycler we have named Martha Chase (Wooster class of 1950) worked with Alfred Hershey to determine that DNA is the heredity unit not proteins. Hershey received the Nobel Prize in 1969 however Chase did not.

Rosalind Franklin

Martha Chase

Our ever loyal centrifuge is named in honor of Chien-Shiung Wu a Chinese American physicist who was a part of the Manhattan project, and made discoveries relating to beta decay. Wu’s colleges who came up with the theory for conservation of parity won the Nobel prize when it was Wu who actually tested this theory (hmmm beginning to see a theme here).

Chien-Shiung Wu

Our hot water bath is named for Barbara McClintock a botanist (#plantsarecooltoo)! She is known for her work mapping out the genome of corn and discovered transposons/jumping genes which are genes that can move around the genome.

Barbara McClintock

Nettie Stevens a geneticist who discovered sex chromosomes and the role they play in sex determination. Stevens had a short career but an impactful one, in the nine years after receiving her PhD she published 38 papers, she then died of breast cancer in 1912. She also was one of the first to use fruit flies as a model organism. We have named our gel rig after her.

Nettie Stevens

In-Young Ahn is the first Asian woman to be an Antarctica station leader she also was the first South Korean woman to visit Antarctica. She is a benthic ecologist studying clams and other bivalves. Due to her work in the Antarctica we have named our freezer after Ahn.

In-Young Ahn

Diana Patterson is the first woman to run the Australian Antarctica station. She has written a book about her time in the Antarctica titled The Ice Beneath my Feet: My Year in Antarctica. We have named our fridge after Patterson.

Diana Patterson

Our homogenizer (shaker) is named for the British entomologist Miriam Rothschild, the company that makes the machine is “BeadBug” hence the entomologist. Rothschild was the leading expert on fleas, she was the first to understand the flea jumping mechanism that allows them to jump very far. She also did work showing how the fleas are able to alter the hormones of their host to aid in their own reproduction!

Miriam Rothschild

Ada Lovelace who we have named our lab computer in honor of, was an impressive mathematician. She wrote the first computer program and algorithm in 1850 this is known simply as “Note G”. She also argued against the existence of AI “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths.”

Ada Lovelace

We are not quite done there are still some process of equipment that need names but we have named the majority. There are many women in STEM that have gone unrecognized for the work they have done for their field. I understand that naming a piece of equipment is a small recognition but every little bit counts and over time a difference can be made.

See ya’ in a while flog!


P.S. This Saturday I am heading out to Arizona to do field work with hummingbirds and a desert shrub Coral bean. This work will be for my senior thesis (AHH that’s scary to say/type) where I will be determining how temporal and geographic distances between plants affect matting rates. So I won’t be posting for two weeks, but after that I’ll be back! I promise to come back with stories of cactus, rattle snakes, scorpions and NO ER trips!


1 comment to Women in STEM: Meet the lab equipment

  • Alice Berry

    This is great. I will share with others. Thank you!
    BTW, we are good friends with Jan and John Ison.

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