Woman of the Week – Hope Jahren

time-100-2016-hope-jahrenHope Jahren is a geochemist, geobiologist, and recent author, with an extensive list of
Universities that she has studied or taught at (University of Minnesota, University of California, Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Copenhagen, John Hopkins University, University of Hawaii, and University of Oslo), and a simply mind blowing collection of awards (Three Fulbright Awards, Donath Medal from the Geological Society of America, Macelwane Medal, and she has been named by Popular Science as one of its “Brilliant 10” scientists in 2013, and named in 2016 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People.)

As well as her clearly astounding research achievement, she promotes public awareness of science, in particular challenging stereotypes of women in science, while also highlighting some of her darker experiences of science, i.e. widespread sexual harassment and discrimination in science. She is in particular credited with the Twitter trend #ManicureMondays, a trend originally started by Seventeen Magazine, but that she adapted to encourage scientists, and specifically women and girls in science, to share pictures of their hands conducting scientific experiments.

In 2016, her memoir Lab Girl – A Story Of Trees, Science, and Love was published, in which she describes her incredibly strenuous yet exciting journey from a kid curious about her father’s lab, to a fully fledged science icon, (with a lab named after herself.) Biological phenomena are used throughout as metaphors for her experiences, so not only as a reader do you understand her ordeals better, but you also get to learn about remarkable biological processes in beautiful poetic writing. The overall impression of the book is adoration and awe of biology, and of discovering new things, and from reading the memoir, regardless of what subjects or careers you are headed for, it would be difficult to finish reading it without the overwhelming sense of – however crazy, chaotic, scary and\or poorly funded things are, you can pull through and do wonderful things.

Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.”
― Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

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