math

Never Have Trouble Finding Places for Science on Your Vacation Again: Sci Sites!

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In January 2018, Dr. Lakshini Mendis launched a website for the purpose of inviting science to come along on your vacation.  While just about every large city in the United States, as well as across the world, typically has a science-related museum, or other science related activities to do while you’re visiting, sometimes they can be hard to find.

 

 

Dr. Lakshini Mendis is a trained neuroscientist, and now is a full-time science writer and editor herself.  After she gained her PhD, she traveled abroad a lot.  While she was abroad, she wanted to find these “STEM-related places” that she knew absolutely existed.  Finding them, though, was an entire adventure on its own.

 

 

Dr. Mendis found it to be a little frustrating and not very convenient that there wasn’t a place on the internet where you could go to see every science activity or public area in the location you were visiting.  Of course, you could Google things all day long, but the convenience just was not there. She wanted a “one-stop STEM related travel site”.  

 

 

VISIT THE SITE

 

 
 
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Sci-Sites.com is exactly that.  By noting where she has been on her science filled trips, and asking others where they have been, Dr. Mendis has created an easily-accessible space to fit her goal.  This site includes guest posts about these places, so that you’re not going in blind — as well as suggests science related spaces for every continent. No matter where you’re going on vacation, Dr. Mendis is making it so you have no excuse to not add science into the mixture.

 

 

Another wonderful thing about Dr. Mendis’ site is that it aids in visibility for not only STEM, and STEM-related public spaces, but also for the scientists and employees involved.  By allowing guest posts, scientists who have worked for specific museums and other STEM-related places can bring awareness to those said areas, as well as to the work that they do for that specific place. 

 

It’s another way, that’s totally different and completely unique to the current world of Science Communication, to get the science communication ball rolling.  It’s a great way to get the entire family involved with STEM and the people directly involved in STEM fields in a fun and relatable way.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

A Brief History of Maryam Mirzakhani: A Wonderful Mathematician

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Posted in July 2017

Last week, on July 14th 2017, the world lost Maryam Mirzakhani to Breast Cancer.  She passed away at the young age of forty.

 

Mirzakhani was, of course, most known for her mathematics. Her legacy includes being the first woman to win the Fields Medal back in 2014, an award given to those who are incredible mathematicians under the age of forty.  It’s considered to be the most prestigious award a mathematician can hope to ever receive.

 

Born in 1977 in Iran, she spent much of her time in her home country, going to schools specifically for children that had special talents.  She specifically attended Farzangehan School, an all-girls middle and high school where the children take classes as though they were already attending college.

 

Throughout her career, she was recognized for the joy that she had for math, her humility, and her overall brilliance.  The New Yorker wrote an article about her, quoting a few scientists on the qualities they saw in her.  In reference to her mathematical ability, one mathematician (who also won a fields the same year Maryam Mirzakhani had) said of her:  “[She] was a master of curved spaces. […] Maryam proved many amazing theorems about such shortest paths—called ‘geodesics’—on curved surfaces, among many other remarkable results in geometry and beyond.”  (Manjul Bharagava to the New Yorker)

 

In 2013, Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it quickly spread to her bone marrow.  Despite this, Bharagava continued to tell the New Yorker that she was still producing some of her best mathematical work throughout her illness.

 

Unfortunately, as one might expect, Mirzakhani left some family behind.  A husband named Jan Vondrák, who is a computer scientist and mathematician himself, and their daughter Anahita. Their daughter, who is currently six years old, considered her mother’s work art — often calling her mother’s work “paintings”.

 

In STEM, math almost seems to be the subject people avoid the most.  Though math is technically in every aspect of STEM in one way or another, math can be extremely intimating to many people.  Mirzakhani was a fantastic example during her lifetime for everyone in this matter.  She’s quoted as saying:  “You have to spend some energy and effort to see the beauty of math”.

 

Maybe all of us can step back and see the beauty in Maryam Mirzakhani’s honor.

 

READ THE NPR ARTICLE ABOUT MIRZAKHANI