Tag Archives: Women in Science and Engineering

Women in Science and Engineering

Women in Science and Engineering: Tunable Laser Inventor Mary Spaeth

One of the most accomplished engineers I have had the privilege of interviewing was Mary L. Spaeth, a specialist in the field of laser optics.

Spaeth was a pioneer who discovered the world’s first “tunable” laser.

While researching ruby lasers at Hughes Aircraft Corp., Spaeth “came to believe that dyes would make excellent lasers.” Dyes are strongly colored chemicals that can be used to add color to a material, such as hair or cloth.

The year was 1966, only six years after the first laser was invented. Continue reading

E is for Engineering – The Best STEM Careers

2013 First Lego League Global Innovation Award winners, the NeXT GEN Team

The NeXT GEN Team won the 2013 FIRST Lego League Global Innovation Award for developing a tool to help seniors pick up small objects, such as pills, using robotic technology.

As someone with a degree in engineering, I’ve noticed a peculiar fact. In the world of STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) engineering careers appear to be the ugly ducklings of the group.

There’s a lot of talk about teaching kids to code, which falls under math, computer science and technology. There’s also a huge emphasis in the media on biotech, space science, and environmental science.

But in my opinion, the lowly engineer gets short shrift. Continue reading

Women in the Lead: Smart Cities

Women in Science and EngineeringBy Holly B. Martin

Cities large and small are buying in to the Smart Cities movement, addressing the challenges of increasing urbanization using data and technology. Women in particular are prominently positioned as leaders in the movement, seeking to create more livable, efficient and sustainable cities through their technical, business and civic know-how.

As more and more people flood into cities worldwide, local governments are being called upon to help provide more services such as healthcare, economic development, infrastructure and safety to their burgeoning populations.

At the same time, the state of technology multiplies exponentially the amount of data being collected—as well as the possibilities of what can be done with this data. Continue reading

Women in Robotics: Challenges and Progress

Julie Adams, Electrical engineering and computer science professor at Vanderbilt University

Electrical engineering and computer science professor Julie Adams along with students Sean Hayes, right, Mark Bailey, left, Electa Baker and Caroline Harriott, center, work with their remote control robots outside the Student Life Center. (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

Robotics is one of the fastest growing fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and women have benefited from that growth. Over the past three decades, women in robotics have faced challenges, but at the same time, have seen encouraging progress.

“Around the time I entered graduate school in the early 90s, the number of females going into PhD programs in robotics showed a big step up, and I was part of that,” said Julie Adams, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering at Vanderbilt University.

At that time, Adams was one of only three women of the 30 to 35 students in the general robotics, automation, sensing & perception (GRASP) laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the first to graduate with a PhD. Continue reading

GMU professor’s “Nanoparticle Net” may detect early cancer, Lyme disease

Women in Science and EngineeringAlessandra Luchini, a Ph.D. and assistant professor at George Mason University, has helped to invent a “nanoparticle trap” which allows scientists to detect unhealthy cells much sooner than before. When found early, cancer and other diseases are easier to treat, giving patients a better chance for survival.

Recently, Luchini gave a lecture on “Nanotechnology in Biomedicine” as part of Mason’s Vision Series at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia. Continue reading