Submit your work to the Diversity in Science carnival

Feb 02 2009 Published by under Blogging, Underrepresented Groups

DNLee of Urban Science Adventures! blog is launching a new blog carnival:

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.

7 responses so far

  • Dave, avoiding the party line as usual and likely dooming himself to more condemnation says:

    This is a great idea, sort of. There are loads of scientists who are not old white guys doing great stuff, and increasing their visibility might help inspire others.
    But surely we don't need to be constrained by certain racal lines. There are loads of different under-represented groups of scientists that could be featured.
    And this is sort of goofily ignorant...
    "February offers a great opportunity to learn about the achievements of African-Americans (and others from the African Diaspora) in the sciences."
    According to current evidence, aren't ALL humans part of an African diaspora? And remember that not all people from the African continent are what most Americans refer to as 'African-American'. And most so-called 'African-Americans' aren't even American. And not all great science is done in America. So pick whom you want to feature, for whatever reason you want. But let's not make arbitrary and ultimately indefensible distinctions. That's the kind of crap that has caused misery for enough people already.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    There are loads of different under-represented groups of scientists that could be featured.
    Apparently you missed my post on women scientist who contributed to our knowledge base about MDMA?
    But let's not make arbitrary and ultimately indefensible distinctions.
    why not? It's Black History Month dude. You are being just as stupid as if you complained about only celebrating Wash and Linc of all our Presidents or some such nonsense. or celebrating MLKJr and not other contributors to the Civil Rights era. or St. Patrick instead of a bunch of other saints that did things slightly more interesting than kick the serpents out of Ireland. or...
    That's the kind of crap that has caused misery for enough people already.
    ohh, the misery of highlighting african-american scientists. My guts are twisting in agony!!!! aieeee!

  • cashmoney says:

    I think the issue, Dave, is not so much that you don't "follow the party line" as that you are so clumsy and unoriginal about it.
    I am, however, looking forward to your defense of the assertion that African-Americans, those of USAian citizenship and of identifiable claim to recent African heritage are not "American".

  • Dave says:

    Oh, gosh, yes you're right. I don't know what I was thinking. Sorry.

  • Beaker says:

    Although he might be considered a historical figure, Percy Julian (1899-1975) is still recent enough in my mind to count as modern-day. That guy was amazing. Cholinesterase inhibitors, steroids, and a whole lot more. Saw a PBS special about him that left my in awe of his silky skills in the the chem lab.

  • cookingwithsolvents says:

    I'll put another vote in for Dr. Julian. Here is a link to the PBS special: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/julian/ It used to be online but I can't seem to find the link. I suppose it was taken down.
    With all of Julian's brilliant work I wonder why Glidden isn't a major force in the chemical industry today. . .

  • DNLee says:

    I want to address Dave's comments first:
    There are loads of different under-represented groups of scientists that could be featured.
    But let's not make arbitrary and ultimately indefensible distinctions.

    You're right! and the purpose of the Blog Carnival is to address all of them (or as many as we can). And I guess picking Black folks (is that better than African-American?) might have been arbitrary. So let me explain why it was chosen.
    1. I'm black, so let me acknowledge my bias and possible conflict of interest.
    2. I'm a geek about theme linking, so with this being February and Black History Month I though we could start with Black Scientist. Linking complex things to general audiences are already wired into is a great social marketing tool...and I'm a geek for that kinda stuff, too.
    3. The carnival was inspired fresh off of the heels of the Jan 18 ScienceOnline Conference, Race in Science session.
    But for the purpose of this month's carnival on Diversity in Science, Black folks only. Thank you. I hope you all understand and are not offended. No offense needed.
    (But I need to rant a little: It's been my experience that there always seem to be some fervent objection to celebrating Black/African-American success and achievement. I have NEVER experienced the same amount of resistance or sometimes hostility of celebrating the success of ANY OTHER Ethnic Group. I find it disturbing and unsettling that there is always some other person telling me/black people that celebrating our ethnic group is wrong or ridiculous or outdated. I find such sentiments and offensive and I challenge those who feel that way to consider their prejudice and bias against Black History Month, but have no prob with Women's, Latino, or Native-American Months.)
    I'm back.
    Just to prepare you, we'll being the same thing for Women's History Month,(March). I'm a woman, hence why it was chosed 2nd.
    DM: your issues of perception of people as professionals is an important one. In fact Greg Laden mentioned the same thing at the ScienceOnline Conference. You're right. I think all approaches to promoting diversity are valid, so I welcome your prespective to the Carnival....I hope many others do the same - online and offline.
    I hope to get some great submissions, judging by the early buzz, I think so.

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