One of the topics I find particularly interesting is science that intersects with history: engineering the pyramids, medical practices of medieval Europeans, ancient astronomy, and the like. Jennifer Hooper McCarty is a materials scientist who does exactly that kind of research. Her Ph.D. thesis was "based on her studies of recovered material from the RMS Titanic", which have now been turned into a book: What Really Sank the Titanic. (co-authored with NIST materials scientist Timothy Foecke). Here she is talking about it on last night's Colbert Report:
After completing her PhD, she was a post-doc in the Department of Materials at Oxford University, where she studied 18th through 20th century railroad materials and roman coins - and continued her Titanic research. After returning to the United States, she worked in the licensing and technology transfer office at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. She currently is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Biomaterials and Biomechanics in the OHSU School of Dentistry. Her next research project will focus on the Eiffel Tower (which hopefully was put together using quality rivets).
(For more about the book and the Titanic rivet issue, see this April 15 article in the New York Times.)
Tags: Jennifer Hooper McCarty, materials science, Titanic