Posts Tagged ‘fsemf8fall2011’

Explanation of Site Content

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This site is an aggregate of work submitted by students in a Freshman Seminar (FSEM 100 F8 Beauty and Brains–Women in the Sciences) during Fall 2011 at the University of Mary Washington.  These students investigated and wrote about the lives of these women scientists.  These posts are an attempt to share their knowledge and interests.  Students are exploring the lives of these women, their contributions, and the impact and challenges that being female had on their careers.  These posts should not be used as primary reference material for any academic work (e.g., class paper).   A bibliography of relevant sources is posted as a reference guide for others.

Annotated Bibliography & 200 words

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Annotated Bibliography

Primary Sources

Dreifus, Claudia. “An Astronomer Devoted to the Icy and Far Away.” The New York Times. 01 Sept. 2008. Web. 9 Sept. 2011.

This source is an interview with Heidi Hammel with an editor from the New York Times. It discusses her involvement with work learning about Neptune and Uranus, and why she chose to work with the “dullest planets.” Also, it talks about her work with the Hubble Space Telescope, and how she manages to explain what she learns with everyone else in terms a non-scientist would understand.

Hammel, Heidi. “ASTRONOMY BEHIND THE HEADLINES A Podcast for Informal Science Educators from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.” Interview. Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Web. 9 Sept. 2011. <>.

This site provides a link to an interview with Heidi Hammel. This interview is in regards to the atmosphere discovered on Jupiter due to a collision with fragments from a comet. She discusses discoveries from this event. She also explains how the Hubble Space Telescope assisted with these discoveries.

“Heidi B. Hammel’s Frequently Asked Questions Page.” Fred Bortz, Children’s Science Writer. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <>.

This website is a list of frequently asked questions. There are questions about multiple different topics. Some are about her career and how she got started. There are also some about her personal life.

Morrow, Cherilynn. “Scientists in Education and Public Outreach.” Interview. Space Science Institute, Apr. 2001. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <>.

This is an interview with Heidi Hammel. In this interview, she discusses her involvement in educating the public, especially children, about her field of science through EPO(Education and Public Outreach). She discusses how and why she got involved in EPO. She also explains the challenges and rewards of being involved in a program like EPO.

Niebur, Susan. “Heidi Hammel: Ask for Help When You Need it « Women in Planetary Science: Female Scientists on Careers, Research, Space Science, and Work/Life Balance.” Women in Planetary Science: Female Scientists on Careers, Research, Space Science, and Work/Life Balance. 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.

This is an interview with Heidi Hammel. This interview discusses how she got involved in science and what she has done as a scientist. The article focuses mainly on her research on Neptune and Uranus. It also talks about how she juggles her life as a scientist and a woman with a family


Secondary Sources



This site is about Heidi Hammel’s background. It discusses her education before her career and research she has done. It also names some of the awards she has received for her work. Lastly, it also mentions her biography.

A Word on my Findings

Who knew it could be so hard to find sources for a scientist!  I most certainly didn’t think it would be.  After spending time looking, I found all of these sources are very helpful when trying to learn more about Heidi Hammel.  Some delve into her work and research, why she chose to do go into science, how she chose what planets she wanted to study, and she manages to juggle being a working woman with a family and a personal life.  I really enjoyed getting to learn more about Heidi Hammel and her field of work.  I always thought planets and space were interesting, but didn’t realize how involved and complex it could really be.  She focuses most of her work on Neptune and Uranus the “Icy Giants” and the “dullest planets,” as one interviewer pointed out.  Her defense for these planets is that they are always changing, therefore they are interesting to study.  Also, because no one has really focused on them before, everything she discovers is new to the science world.  She has also worked with the Hubble Space Telescope.  She actually led a team that analyzed photos from the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet hitting Jupiter.  And amidst all of this, she still has time for her husband and three kids.  How one woman manages to handle all of this is truly amazing!  I can’t wait to get deeper into my research and learn even more.

Ada Augusta Byron, The Countess of Lovelace

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

                   Children of celebrities are assumed to have the best of everything in life. From schooling to clothes to access of money, in the eyes of normal people they seem to have it all. But in the case of Ada Byron, The Countess of Lovelace, her life was the exact opposite. She was born on December 10th, 1815 to Lord George Byron and Anna Milbanke. Shortly after her birth, her infamous poet of a father separated from her mother. Although Milbanke was extremely cautious when taking her daughter out of the house for fear of her being stolen away by Byron, her worries were of her own imagination because Byron could not even afford to take his legitimate daughter with him out of the country. Once he left England, he never saw Ada again. With Byron gone, Milbanke wanted to make sure that Ada would be nothing like her father so she was tutored in math rather than in literature. Even though, Ada never actually knew her father she sympathized with him and would not let her mother’s harsh remarks over his person and character affect her feelings toward him. When she turned 17, Ada was introduced to an older man named Charles Babbage who was developing what we now know is a computer. Interested in his findings, Ada continued to learn more about mathematics to assist Babbage in his work even after marrying Lord William King and bearing him three children. Her math tutors consisted of William Frend, Mary Somerville, and Augustus De Morgan. With their help she was able to develop her own theories and notes, mainly her notes on Bernoulli numbers, and translate Babbage’s work to the general English public (L.F. Menabrea wrote about Babbage’s work in French). Unfortunately, on November 27th, 1852 she died of uterine cancer. Her last wish was to be buried beside herfather who she had never known. Her contribution to Babbage’s work is the reason why people have access to computers today and she should be remembered fondly as the first woman computer programmer.


Shireen Hamdan » fsemf8fall2011 2011-09-14 23:46:53

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

The scientist I have chosen is Ada Byron: Countess of Lovelace. She was born and raised in London, England to a famous poet Lord Byron and Anna Isabella Milbanke in 1815. The reason I chose Ada Byron is because she was one of the very few scientists I found when I was researching that was able to keep her femininity (as seen in her pictures too) while still engage in the “masculine”  mathematics and sciences. This truly intrigued me to choose her because she proved that she was able to stay a “woman” while making many contributions to the scientific community. She was also dedicated in getting the attention of other scientists   Her importance in society is that Byron became the first ever  female computer programmer and the founder of scientific computing. Her biggest accomplishment was the creation of the Analytical Engine, a calculation which was a revolution for the computer world. She also translated this document for Charles Babbage, who initially had the idea for the Analytical Engine, but was not able to go farther than just the idea. Byron considered herself both a metaphysician and an analyst. She passed away at the young age of 36, but her findings are still notable to this day.


What problem now, in society, concerns you?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

“I’m concerned about EDUCATION. I’m concerned about PEACE. You can’t live in this world without realizing how many lives are destroyed needlessly. I think that we don’t put enough stress on education anymore. The kind of education that we used to have for young people had more discipline and made more demands on them. We’ve sort of let things slide and say, “We shouldn’t teach math. We shouldn’t teach Latin. That’s too difficult.” Children are very IMPRESSIONABLE, they are very CURIOUS. You’ve got to take advantage of that curiosity, to let them realize that there is a BIG WORLD out there they can discover. If you don’t do it when they are young, you are not going to get them back again.”Gertrude Elion (Courtesy of Academy of Achievement)

Quote of the Day

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I think the first thing is to want to do it, to really feel that this is what you want to do. The other is NOT to let people DISCOURAGE you by telling you this isn’t what you should be doing, or this isn’t what people of your kind do. I always quote Admiral Farragut, and say “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”  Gertrude Elion (Courtesy of Academy of Achievement)


Introduction to Roger Arliner Young

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Roger Arliner Young was the first African American woman to receive a doctorate in zoology.  She faced many difficulties including juggling research, teaching, and caring for her ill mother.  She entered Howard University in 1916 and studied biology under Dr. Ernest Just.  She graduated with her bachelors degree in 1923.  When Young entered the University of Chicago she began publishing her research.  ”On the Excretory Apparatus in Paramecium,” appeared in Science in September 1924.  By 1926, Young obtained her Master’s Degree.    She spent the summer working for Just at a Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts. Here they conducted research on the fertilization process in marine organisms and the dehydration and hydration in living cells.  Her relationship with Just continued to grow as well as her knowledge and  expertise.  She stood in as the head of the Howard zoology department while Just was working in Europe.  Young returned to the University of Chicago to get her PhD, however she failed her qualifying exams.  The stress was getting to her.  Not only was she broke but she had to continue to care for her ill mother and continue her studies, this stress led to mental instability.

Young continued to teach at Howard University until she was fired for missing class and mistreatment of lab equipment.   She took this opportunity to attend University of Pennsylvania and to begin a doctorate under L. V. Heilbrunn.  She continued on and worked at many different Universities, however her mental health continued to fail.  She was placed in the Mississippi State Mental Asylum.  Unfortunately, she died poor and alone on November 9, 1964.

Secondary Source

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011


Fung’s Accomplishments are noted as she visits Yale University. Her brief biography is noted about how she grew up in Hong Kong then moved to MIT. The basis of her studies is her idea that the climate is directly connected to the atmosphere and the surface of the land. This source is great, it gives a brief history of her past and a comprehensive summary of her academic focuses which have been previously difficult to find.

Shireen Hamdan » fsemf8fall2011 2011-09-13 14:40:43

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Green, Christopher D. “Classics in the History of Psychology:Lovelace (1843).”Sketch of the Analytical Engine. N.p.Web. 10 Sept. 2011.

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This source goes in detail about the math required for the Analytical Engine. The presented information is the work of both Babbage and Byron in the path of making the Analytical Engine happen. Ada Byron also worked as a translator for Babbage, so all the research for the program was translated by her. This source is very informative for those wanting to understand how the Analytical Engine works, but does not include any biographical information.

Shireen Hamdan » fsemf8fall2011 2011-09-13 14:22:12

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Stansfier, Ryan . “Augusta Ada Byron.” Florida Institute of Technology. N.p., 24 Aug. 2004. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.


This source highlighted the main points in Ada Byron’s life. A piece of relevant information obtained from this website was the dedication Ada had put in order to gain the attention from Babbage. Once he saw how hard she was trying to get his attention, he realized how talented she really was. This resource would have been very good, but it is lacking in-depth information.