Breaking through the glass ceiling can be tough, especially when you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field. This week’s episode takes a look at women in chemistry. First, we learn about the brave physicist after whom meitnerium is named. Then we talk with Donna Nelson, a chemistry professor and spokeswoman for women in the sciences. Finally, producer Catherine Girardeau shares an interview with her grandmother, a dietary researcher credited with changing the eating habits of Americans in the mid-20th century. Element of the Week: Meitnerium.A bit more background information for those of you who don't mind spoilers:
- Meitnerium is named after Austrian physicist Lise Meitner, who worked out the theoretical basis for nuclear fission of uranium.
- Donna Nelson is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma. In 2007 Nelson published "A National Analysis of Minorities in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities", a survey of the race, ethnicity, gender and rank of faculty in the top 50 US departments for chemistry, physics and other sciences. Read more about Nelson in her profile in The Scientist.
- Catherine Girardeau's grandmother is Helen B. Brown, a research nutritionist at the Cleveland Clicnic, whose studies of atherosclerosis lead to the discovery that a diet in which saturated animal fats were replaced with vegetable oils lead to a drop in blood cholesterol levels.
Tags: women in chemistry, Liese Meitner, Donna Nelson, Helen B Brown