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Tag: STEM
  • Pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace is now the subject of a variety of books for all ages!

    English mathematician Ada Lovelace is widely considered the world's first computer programmer for her invention of the computer algorithm. Born in 1815 to the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron, Lovelace's mathematical talents led to an ongoing collaboration with mathematician Charles Babbage, who called Lovelace the "Enchantress of Numbers." While translating an article by an Italian engineer on Babbage's Analytical Engine, a proposed early version of a mechanical general-purpose computer, Ada added her own extensive set of notes, three times as long as the original article, which contained a tremendous breakthrough — the first computer program or algorithm! Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of STEM-themed games for all ages!

    "Science is not a boy's game, it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game." — Nichelle Nichols

    When a baby drops a block over and over, she's doing what humans do naturally: turning science into a game! Playful experimentation is the first step to a lifetime of STEM learning. As kids get older, however, they can lose that creative spirit and start seeing learning about science and math as a chore, rather than a fun and exciting way to discover the wonders of the universe. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of programming toys & games for kids of all ages!

    Computers and technology are all around us at both work and play — which means that knowing the ins and outs of programming is an ever more essential skill! While in the past kids could only start learning about programming when they were ready for text-based computer languages, today they can get started from with board games, color-coded programming languages, and much more, encouraging kids to see themselves as programmers from an early age. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Jeanne Villepreux-Power began her adult life as a dressmaker, but rose to become one of the preeminent marine biologists of her day.

    If you've ever been captivated by colorful fish and sea creatures darting around an aquarium, you can thank 19th century French scientist Jeanne Villepreux-Power! Villepreux-Power began her adult life as a dressmaker, but rose to become one of the preeminent marine biologists of her day. Her invention of a glass box for holding and observing marine specimens — the first recognizable glass aquarium — earned her the title "Mother of Aquariophily" from British biologist Richard Owen. "[She] was not content with purely descriptive studies of dead specimens," French scientist Claude Arnal wrote in a tribute to her. "She was excited by life and its mysteries." Continue reading Continue reading

  • "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me."

    You've likely heard doctors or parents talking about a baby's Apgar Score, but did you know that this lifesaving measure is named for its creator, Dr. Virginia Apgar, the pioneering anesthesiologist whose work has helped save countless newborns? The Apgar Score, which is now used in many countries around the world, helps doctors quickly assess the health of newborns to determine if they need medical intervention. Apgar also authored a groundbreaking book called Is My Baby All Right? which provided parents with a reassuring and informative guide to birth defects, which had previously been a taboo topic and a source of shame to many families. Apgar's unflagging determination to provide the best possible care for both women and their babies is perhaps best summed up by her famous quote: "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Apollo 11 moon landing nearly ended in failure -- until Margaret Hamilton's flight software saved the day.

    In this iconic photograph, pioneering computer scientist Margaret Hamilton stands next to the computer code that she and her team wrote to guide the Apollo spacecraft to the moon! Hamilton was the lead software designer for NASA’s Apollo program, and her forward thinking saved the 1969 Apollo 11 mission when the flight software she designed prevented a last-minute abort of the famous landing which brought the first humans to the Moon. Over the course of her career, Hamilton developed the concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling, and Human-in-the-loop decision capability, which became the foundation of modern software design. She also fought for programming to be given the respect it deserved, coining the term "software engineering" ; after all, as her work showed, software could make the difference between failure and a groundbreaking success. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Experts offer tips for parents on building girls' confidence in math.

    “Why do smart people enjoy saying that they are bad at math?” laments Petra Bonfert-Taylor, a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College. “Few people would consider proudly announcing that they are bad at writing or reading.” After seeing one too many examples of adults “passing on [mathematical anxiety] like a virus,” Bonfert-Taylor has an important message for math-phobic parents and educators: “We are passing on from generation to generation the phobia for mathematics... [and] as a result, too many of us have lost the ability to examine a real-world problem, translate it into numbers, solve the problem and interpret the solution.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • Eight downloadable posters celebrating women of STEM perfect for displaying in kids' rooms and classrooms!

    The saying, "If she can't see it, she can't be it," speaks to the importance of introducing girls to female role models, especially in areas where women's accomplishments were often overlooked or minimized such as in science, mathematics, and technology. A new poster collection aims to bring more of these women's stories to light — and inspire today's Mighty Girls with the knowledge that she can be whatever she aspires to be! Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Frances Kelsey resisted intense industry pressure to approve thalidomide; the drug was the cause of severe birth defects in over 10,000 infants in other countries.

    When pharmacologist Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey started working at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960, one of the first files to cross her desk was an approval request for thalidomide. The drug had already been prescribed widely in Europe and other countries as a treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women, but Kelsey wasn't convinced it was safe. Her refusal to approve the drug, despite intense pressure from its manufacturer, likely saved tens of thousands of babies in America from devastating birth defects. "Representatives for the company thought I was crazy because it was such a popular drug in Europe, and they were losing money by my pigheadedness," asserted Kelsey in a later interview. "I held my ground. I just wouldn't approve it." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Pioneering neuroscientist Brenda Milner, one of the founders of cognitive neuroscience, says that at 103, she's "still nosy."

    If you go to the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, you might catch a glimpse of 103-year-old Dr. Brenda Milner — a pioneering neuroscientist who's still breaking new ground in her 70-year long career as a brain researcher! The eminent British-born scientist revolutionized brain science as a newly minted PhD in the 1950s. Today, she is best known for discovering where memory formation occurs in the brain and is widely recognized as one of the founders of cognitive neuroscience. Her research to better understand the inner workings of the human brain continues today, although she says that people often think she must be emerita because of her advanced age. "Well, not at all," she asserts. "I’m still nosy, you know, curious.” Continue reading Continue reading

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