Vitenskap og feminisme

Jeg oppdaget plutselig det kuleste prosjektet på Kickstarter om vitenskap og feminisme! Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya har studert nevrovitenskap og er nå illustratør og har startet et prosjekt på Kickstarter for å spre kunnskap om vitenskap og feminisme i verden.

Prosjektet hennes går ut på å lage plakater av kvinner som har gjort store ting for vitenskapen, men som har blitt forbigått i stillhet. Man kan bli matt av at det ikke bare har vært umulig for kvinner å få innpass i vitenskapen, men også at når de har tatt plass og utrettet store ting, så har de blitt forbigått, ikke inkludert når priser har blitt utdelt og umiddelbart glemt i etterkant.

Men jeg liker ideen om å vise fram kvinner gjennom plakater. De er ment for å henges opp i klasserom og biblioteker for å vise fram alle de kule damene som har gått i front både i vitenskap og feminisme. Jeg har hørt om flere av de inkluderte, antageligvis fordi mange av dem er biologer, men det er trist hvor mange jeg ikke har hørt om. Jeg antar at alle i Norge har hørt om May-Britt Moser, som vant Nobelprisen i medisin i 2014, men jeg er ikke sikker på om alle er klar over at det var labteknikeren (hun fikk jo ikke lov til å bli forsker og professor) Rosalind Franklin som tok bildene av DNA som gjorde at man skjønte at det var en dobbelhelix. Hun er det mest kjente eksempelet på “dame som ikke ble inkludert da de delte ut Nobelpris for noe hun hadde gjort”.

Men de har også med fysikere, matematikere og programmerere som jeg aldri har hørt om. Jeg er glad for at Internett gjør at man kan bli smartere og mer informert selv om man for lengst er ferdig på skolen.

Det er 12 dager igjen til å backe prosjektet, så om du har lyst til å støtte det/ få din egen plakat/pute med kul vitenskapsperson som er dame på, så er det fremdeles tid!

English: I have just backed this cool poster project and I think you should do it too.

Because science

I found this site through twitter: http://io9.com/10-scientific-ideas-that-scientists-wish-you-would-stop-1591309822/+AnnaleeNewitz that lists 10 scientific terms that people misunderstand. My favorites were

6. Gene

Johnson has an even bigger concern about how the word gene gets used, however:

It took 25 scientists two contentious days to come up with: “a locatable region of genomic sequence, corresponding to a unit of inheritance, which is associated with regulatory regions, transcribed regions and/or other functional sequence regions.” Meaning that a gene is a discrete bit of DNA that we can point to and say, “that makes something, or regulates the making of something”. The definition has a lot of wiggle room by design; it wasn’t long ago that we thought that most of our DNA didn’t do anything at all. We called it “junk DNA”, but we’re discovering that much of that junk has purposes that weren’t immediately obvious.

Typically “gene” is misused most when followed by “for”. There’s two problems with this. We all have genes for hemoglobin, but we don’t all have sickle cell anemia. Different people have different versions of the hemoglobin gene, called alleles. There are hemoglobin alleles which are associated with sickle cell diseases, and others that aren’t. So, a gene refers to a family of alleles, and only a few members of that family, if any, are associated with diseases or disorders. The gene isn’t bad – trust me, you won’t live long without hemoglobin – though the particular version of hemoglobin that you have could be problematic.

I worry most about the popularization of the idea that when a genetic variation is correlated with something, it is the “gene for” that something. The language suggests that “this gene causes heart disease”, when the reality is usually, “people that have this allele seem to have a slightly higher incidence of heart disease, but we don’t know why, and maybe there are compensating advantages to this allele that we didn’t notice because we weren’t looking for them”.

7. Statistically Significant

Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg wants to set the record straight about this idea:

“Statistically significant” is one of those phrases scientists would love to have a chance to take back and rename. “Significant” suggests importance; but the test of statistical significance, developed by the British statistician R.A. Fisher, doesn’t measure the importance or size of an effect; only whether we are able to distinguish it, using our keenest statistical tools, from zero. “Statistically noticeable” or “Statistically discernable” would be much better.

Soft sweeps and adaptation

We are now at day three here in Puerto Rico. There are more and more interesting talks and a lot of people that I want to read up on. The twitter community at #SMBE14 is blooming and it is really nice to see what other people think of what is happening. This is why I have twitter.

And one of the people here does these wonderful sketches and luckily for me he is in almost all my sessions. Here is one from one of the more interesting talks today.

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All honor to Alex Cagan (@ATJCagan)