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Graduate studies in the department of beard-growing….

April 27th, 2004 · No Comments

Ted pulled this article Rad Scientists out of the paper and posted about it last night. Behind on my newspaper reading (even more than my husband), I noticed the piece – when he left it lying around – and liked it too. He wonders whether scientists can lose their “stodginess” image and have as much “cool” as other cultural stars. The article promises hope: it’s a great celebration of NASA’s new generation of scientists – and the creativity and diversity of younger scientists in general – who are anything but “nerdy-looking white guys with crew cuts”.

This was my favorite section:

Of course, science was neither as nerdy nor as monolithic as the media made it seem. Einstein and his ilk were an adventurous lot; physics has always had its share of jocks; minorities and women have long made important contributions.
But the image has persisted even in the face of contrary evidence. Helen Quinn, a physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and current president of the American Physical Society, nursed two babies in the backs of lecture halls. “I wore short skirts and had long, blond hair,” she said. “People would say: ‘You don’t look like a physicist.’ Well, what did they want me to do, grow a beard?”

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