Female Nobel Laureates

“Be less curious about people and
more curious about ideas.”
Marie Curie

Yesterday it was announced that Andrea Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, along with Roger Penrose, and Reinhard Genzel was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics.

Ghez is the 53rd women to have been awarded a Nobel Prize out of more than 900 recipients. She is also only the fourth woman to receive the physics prize, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018.

Often when we think of female Nobel Prize winners, Mother Teresa, Marie Curie and Malala Yousafzai probably come to mind. But, women who received Nobel Prizes were involved in all sorts of projects, from physics experiments to masterful novels, and they changed how we think about art, animals and the human body.

For example, American public philosopher Jane Addams set out to better the lives of working-class people, immigrants, women and children in a very direct way, and her success was kind of astonishing. She found an old mansion in Chicago, cleaned it up and turned it into a community center. Not your ordinary community center, though: Hull House, as she called it, provided social services, but it also fostered rich debate and research into designing a better society. The environment was meant to encourage democratic cooperation and collective action, rather than individualism. Her work won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Throughout history, the scientific and artistic achievements of men have always been renowned and honored by the experts and the public alike. More often than not, women who work as doctors, engineers, writers, and scientists find themselves fighting a seemingly endless battle to gain recognition within their male-dominated industries, sometimes even losing credit for their work in the process. Many of these women had to contend with extreme sexism in male-dominated professions. Some female Nobel Prize winners even had to overcome physical violence. All their stories are unique and equally inspiring.

As of 2020, Marie Curie is the only woman who has been awarded a Nobel Prize twice, one in 1903 and the other in 1911. Whether we realize it or not, these women greatly impacted the World and hopefully more women throughout the World will continue to become female Nobel Laureates.

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H is For Hawk

 

“We carry the lives we’ve imagined
as we carry the lives we have,
and sometimes a
reckoning comes of
all the lives we have lost.”
Helen Macdonald

 

h-is-for-hawk

 

Recently I read Helen Macdonald’s book, H is For Hawk.

The book is about the author’s inconsolable grief after the death of her father.

In an effort to heal her soul and regain a connection with her father, she sets out to find and train a hawk. Not just any hawk, a Goshawk.

That is just one of the beauties of her story. She writes about nature and the healing process of her grief through nature and bonding with her Goshawk.

If you are intrigued by birds of prey, as I am, you will enjoy this book immensely. Not only for its behind scenes life of a falconer, but the history of the hobby. Helen Macdonald writes beautiful prose about her life and struggles with depression and how her Goshawk helps her through a difficult time in her life. This book definitely deserves all the attention it has received and I give high marks to H is For Hawk.

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Bird Man of Our Century

 

“A bird’s experience is far richer,
complex, and thoughtful than I’d imagined.”
David Allen Sibley

 

Birdman of the New Millennium
In a previous blog post I wrote about The Bird Man of America, John James Audubon. However, it appears there’s a new bird man of America artist that has been painting and studying birds for over 50 years. He has been called the most important illustrator of birds since Audubon.

David Allen Sibley, ornithologist, self-taught artist and author was born and raised in Plattsburgh, New York. His love of birds began at the age of eight years old while hiking with his father, Fred Sibley, famous ornithologist at Yale University.

Often after hiking with his dad, David would sketch all the different birds he had encountered from memory. His bird-watching hobby became a life-long passion. Much so, that he dropped out of college at Cornell University to pursue the study of birds.

Through the past five decades, Sibley has drawn and painted thousands of species of birds. His love of birds and painting them has never wavered. It was his goal to one day publish a field guide book for other bird watchers. With encouragement from his wife, also an ornithologist, he spent 14 years traveling, researching and painting birds for the book.

His hard work paid off and his goal was achieved in 2000, when his first book, The Sibley Field Guide to Birds was published. Shortly after publication, his first volume was on the New York best seller list and David followed up that book with numerous other popular guide books.

Even after half a century of bird-watching, David Sibley continues to study and learn new things about his favorite topic. When he did research for his recent book, What’s It’s Like to Be a Bird, he became convinced of something he had not previously anticipated: “Birds routinely make complex decisions and experience emotions”. In this book, he also covers such topics as; Do birds have a good sense of smell? Where do birds go at night? Where do they sleep?

With over 8.7 million species of birds throughout the entire world, I’m pretty sure his latest bird book won’t be the last for this bird man of our century.

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The Pandumbic

 

“If you laugh with somebody,
then you share something.”
Trevor Noah

 

Trevor Noah

When the Coronavirus pandemic began, all the late-night shows such as The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show and even Stephen Colbert began broadcasting their shows from home, usually their significant other filming their host husbands.

There was one show I had not watched before and that was  The Daily Show with host Trevor Noah. However, that changed when I began watching Trevor along with the other daily YouTube late night shows.

If you’re not familiar with Trevor Noah, he’s a 36-year old South African comedian, political commentator, writer and television host of The Daily Show. Born in Johannesburg, he began his career in 2002 as a comedian, presenter, and actor in South Africa. After coming to America in 2011, he became the first South African comedian to appear on The Tonight Show in the summer of 2013. As his popularity grew and Trevor became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show, he replaced Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show September 28, 2015.

I was a fan of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show but I must admit I stopped watching after he retired. I didn’t even give Trevor Noah a chance to show his talent. I now regret I did that, after becoming a diehard fan of Trevor.

After a few months of watching him on the Daily Show, I read his 2016 book, Born A Crime. He writes about growing up in South Africa, a child of interracial parents and apartheid South Africa. Trevor was kept mostly indoors in his youth by his mother, for fear that at any moment the government could take him away from her because of his interracial status. In South Africa before 1985, it was a crime to have interracial marriages as well as have an interracial child, hence the title of the book, Born a Crime. Against all odds, this smart, handsome, talented young comedian has made his way to the top. In my opinion, Born a Crime should be required reading for all young people.

If you don’t have cable, you can watch him on YouTube. Here’s a recent segment of  The Daily Social Distancing Show from July 22, 2020 he calls, The Pandumbic:

Shine On

All Living Things

“Be respectful of the small insects,
birds and animal people who accompany you.
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans
have brought down upon them.”
Joy Harjo

All Living Things

There’s a poet I admire, Joy Harjo who is the first Native American Poet Laureate in the history of the position. Her poetry as well as her memoir, Crazy Brave are written with such simplicity and beauty that I find myself thirsty for more of her writings, especially since I’ve devoured all of her books.

Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1951 and is a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She is not only a talented poet, but also an author, musician and playwright. She incorporates into her writing storytelling and histories of her Nation and frequently incorporates indigenous myths, symbols, and values.

One of the subject matters she has touched on is the subject of Spirit Animal, Animal Guide and Spirit Helper. These terms are used among different cultures to describe spirits of benevolent nature, usually helping someone during a hard time. These spirits can bring strength, insight, and even a sense or feeling to someone who needs it.

Native American culture believes these Spirit Helpers are not a novelty. It isn’t something you choose or identify with but rather something that comes to you in your time of need. Perhaps the animal represents something that holds a certain value, such as strength in a bull or agility in a dragonfly. In the Native American Lakota culture, these spirits tend to associate values with certain animals. However, that’s not all they bring. They hold a special place and represent a larger spiritual culture within a tribe.

In many indigenous cultures, spirituality is about a relationship to everything around you – the plants and animals that provide food, the land that provides a home, and the weather that makes living possible. These elements are highly respected because they enable us to live.

I tend to believe our spirituality is strongly tied to the value and respect we hold for the earth and all living things.

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