All year is great time to learn more about science and the people who make the discoveries. But February offers a great opportunity to learn about the achievements of African-Americans (and others from the African Diaspora) in the sciences. So I'm introducing a new Blog Carnival - Diversity in Science. Blogs of every genre is invited to write a special feature post about a person who is a pioneer and/or innovator in any of the amazing fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Tell us all about him/her?
How has this person impacted field of STEM and/or inspired you?
Or why is his/her story interesting?
If you have something relevant, submit it through the Blog Carnival link by February 20th.
It is a great idea. When pressed, pretty much anyone in the US (right? tell me I'm right...) can point to botanist and inventor George Washington Carver as a great African-American scientist...although sadly the record for what he did and did not accomplish may be a bit muddled in most people's minds. Still, point being, that he is probably one of the best and most generally known African-American scientists....by some considerable margin.
The first part is great but the part about the public perception margin for other scientists is not so good. I've been on before about overt and obvious perceptions of participation and diversity in the scientific workforce. Dr. Isis had a post which pointed out a fascinating little bit of Google-fu. Search for "Professor" on Google Images and see what you get...[spoiler: OldWhiteGuys].
So while it may be neato to think back into the archives of scientific history for the few African-Americans who stand out in the popular (or not so popular) mind as having had stellar careers, I would like to see this go in a slightly different direction as well. It is my thought that sometimes the accessible persona, connected to much that is familiar to us right now can be much more inspiring than a remote genius who is in many senses an outlier or oddity.
So my post earlier today is an example of a modern day scientist, much like the rest of us (except, you know, better) who is doing his bit in the trenches of the NIH-funded biomedical research gig.
I very much hope to bring you a few more of these this month.