Posting History for Desert Scientist
|Eugenie Clark - 1922-2015
I am taking the liberty of writing a diary on a female scientist whom I never met and who died in the 21st Century (in fact this very year.) This is in large part because of her 1951 book "Lady ...
Some large conservation organizations have a problem. They have to get the money needed to run their programs without being co-opted by the organizations and corporations who donate to them, but ...
|The Mighty Rio Grande
In Late February of this year as I walked down the trail along the Rio Grande at Leasburg Dam State Park in southern New Mexico, I was struck by the relative lushness of the area. A reasonably deep ...
|The Elephant in the Room
As we hear in the news every day, anthropogenic (human caused) global climate change is real, despite the efforts by some to call it a hoax. It is the most serious result of our species fouling our ...
|We're Number One!
I am very disturbed by the attitude that whoever you are, or wherever you come from, or whatever sport team you root for, you or they are number one. This is an attitude that is common to all ...
|Diatoms - A Reprise
A while back I wrote a diary on microorganisms with a brief mention and several photographs of diatoms. Diatoms are major players in net primary production and sequestering of Carbon. Not least, ...
I am not by nature a person who marches or demonstrates, but even my introverted personality can be inspired occasionally to take action. So I found myself twice taking part in demonstrations ...
When I attended the University of Arizona I took an excellent course taught by Albert Mead called Parasitology. We used a text book called "Manual of Tropical Medicine" by Hunter, Frye, and ...
|Women in Science: Final Notes
With this diary I am ending my series of discussions of female scientists and mathematicians. Even though I limited it to those who died before 2000 I believe that I could turn up at least a hundred.
|Women in Science: Nettie Stevens 1861-1912
Determination of sex in humans was a puzzle until a woman who was a cytological researcher uncovered the reason. Nettie Stevens was born in Vermont on July 7, 1861, just as the Civil War started to ...
|Women in Science: Dorothy Hodgkin 1910-1994
There was another woman, besides Rosalind Franklin, who engaged in X-ray chrystallography who actually won a Nobel Prize. Her name was Dorothy Hodgkin. Her work was with proteins, not DNA, and she ...
|Women in Science: Ynes Mexia 1870-1938
As I have noted in earlier diaries, women were much more involved in scientific exploration than is commonly thought. This was especially so in the botanical sciences and one such woman was Ynes ...
|Women in Science: Maria Gaetana Agnesi 1718-1799
The usual common belief that women are bad at mathematics meets its match in Hypatia and several other lesser known female mathematicians. One of these was recognized in her lifetime as the second ...
|Back Country: The Odyssey of a Field Biologist
One reader suggested that I publish some more personal experiences, so here are a few thoughts on traveling into back country - some near-wilderness and some partly inhabited either when I visited ...
After all the serious and depressing news about the environment, war and poverty, I thought it might be of some use to discuss something else. I was not going to discuss my personal life any further ...
|Women in Science: Alice Hamilton 1869-1970
Occupational health and safety has been in the news a lot recently as discussions of safety in the work place burgeon on the Internet. This was one of the reasons for the Labor Movement during the ...
|Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
Quite a few years ago the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a preliminary assessment of projected Wilderness Study Sites for southern New Mexico, including a number in Doña Ana County. As ...
|Domestication Versus the "Natural Man"
A number of years ago an Austrian scientist named Konrad Lorenz joined the Nazi Party. He later denied it, but unfortunately there was paperwork that refuted his claim. Lorenz wrote several pro-...
|Further Thoughts on Women in Science
I have now published 45 diaries on woman in science, dating from the time of Hypatia to the end of the Twentieth Century. An index of these, arranged by the date on which I posted them follows below ...
|Women in Science: Marianne North 1830-1890
Women shone as botanical and natural history artists in the Nineteenth Century. In fact, many of the plant and butterfly books written by male naturalists were illustrated by female artists, who ...
|Women in Science: Margaret Mead 1901-1978
Margaret Mead was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 16, 1901. She was the first born of a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania and a sociologist who studied Italian ...
|The Journeywork of the Stars
As anybody who has read my diaries knows, I spent my professional life as a field biologist, taxonomist and ethologist, specializing in arthropods. I developed that interest from an early age and ...
|Women in Science: Mary Leakey 1913-1996
Louis Leakey is justly famous as the discoverer of a number of fossils of early man at Olduvai Gorge. However the effort became a family affair very early, with his wife Mary Leakey, as well as his ...
Denying climate change, or in many cases, redefining it as a totally natural event, has been a popular exercise in right-wing politics. The most recent local example is a letter sent to the Las ...
|Las Mujeres muertas de Juárez
Less than 50 miles south of where I live lies the Mexican city of Juárez. Not many years ago it was considered the murder capital of the planet, even more dangerous than Baghdad. Over five years it ...
|Women in Science: Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes 1890-1980
Few African-American women were involved in STEM subjects over the Twentieth Century, and there are still not as many as there should be. However one successful mathematician in that period was both ...
I have spent a considerable amount of my time over the years studying the largest known class of living things, insects. My interests have ranged from dragonflies to beetles and from butterflies to ...
|Women in Science: Anna Botsford Comstock 1851-1930
Another member of a husband and wife team was Anna Botsford Comstock, who married the entomologist John Henry Comstock in 1878. In the case of Ms. Comstock she also wrote works on her own and was a ...
|Women in Science: Mary Anning 1799-1847
Paleontology owes a huge debt to an English woman who lived during the first half of the 19th Century - Mary Anning. Although not a scientist she discovered a number of important fossils along the ...
|Women in Science: Nellie Harris Rau 188?-1972
Like Elizabeth Peckham, Nellie Harris Rau was part of a husband and wife team. Born near Athens, Ohio, sometime in the 1880s (exact date does not appear to be known), she moved with her parents to ...
|Women in Science: Chien-Shiung Wu 1912-1997
Chien-Shiung Wu was one of the few women scientists to work on the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb. Born in Liuhe, China, she attended Mingde Women's Vocational Continuing School,
|Unsupported Ideas in Biological Science
Science leads us to some very counterintuitive concepts such as the earth orbiting around the sun, humans and other multicellular life originating from one-celled organisms, light occurring as both ...
|Women in Science: Virginia Apgar 1909-1974
Clinical researchers are often not counted among "scientists," in the public eye, but they are important to practical medical science. Virginia Apgar was just such a researcher and clinician. Born ...
|Women in Science: Gloria Hollister Anable 1900-1988
I have written in an earlier diary about Jocelyn Crane Griffin and her association with William Beebe, the writer and biological scientist. Beebe, whatever criticism may be leveled at him for being ...
Working for its own sake has become a virtue for many people, the idea being that if you do not pull your weight you are a slacker and since success comes from hard work those who have money are ...
|Women in Science: Cynthia Longfield 1896-1991
Cynthia Longfield was another woman who liked insects and was especially enamored of dragonflies and damselflies. She was, in fact, author of the book "The Dragonflies of the British Isles" ...
|A Complex and Inconvenient Reality
Right now, it seems to me and to a lot of other scientists, that the human species is at a crossroads in regard to our longterm survival. The earth really cannot support 11 billion people, as the UN ...
|Water in a Dry Land
The deserts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico are, like most deserts, caused by a rain shadow - in this case produced by the coastal mountains of California and West Mexico. The deserts ...
|Women in Science: Mary Lucy Cartwright 1900-1998
Chaos Theory has probably been more in the public mind since the first "Jurassic Park" movie, but few probably realize that the mathematics behind it was in part developed by a woman and ...
|Women in Science: Admiral Grace Hopper 1906-1992
A Navy Admiral who was a woman and a computer scientist was certainly unusual. However Grace Hopper, who became both, was an unusual person. Born Grace Brewster Murray in New York City on December 9,
|Cnidarian Nerve Nets
The nervous system of animals (one of the characteristics that distinguishes between plant and animal) is a marvelous evolutionary development. While we, like bilateral animals in general, have a ...
|Women in Science: Elizabeth Bangs Bryant 1875-1953
There was one woman who shows up in photographs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology entomology staff during the early to mid 1900s. She was Elizabeth Bangs Bryant. She was also an expert on the ...
|How Folksongs Helped Shape My World View
My friend Dick, the same one with whom I did chemistry experiments, introduced me to the world of folk music during my teenage years. Actually I had some previous experience with the Weavers' hit "...
|My Life as a Teenage Chemist
A recent story about a high-schooler named Kiera Wilmot got me to thinking over my teenage years while I was coping with my manic father and my suicidal mother. This was in the mid to late 1950s. I ...
|Women in Science: Inge Lehmann 1888-1993
One woman who was a centenarian, Inge Lehmann, was also a famous seismologist who was the first to describe the inner core of the earth. Her brilliant career was in part the result of going to a ...
|Thoughts on Ranching and Agriculture in General
Some of my research during the past 30 plus years caused me to spend a fair amount of time on ranches in eastern New Mexico, with an occasional foray into the West Texas and eastern to central ...
My father had a muscular, strong foreman on the electrical construction team for which he worked back in the 1950s. He claimed to be a direct descendent of Robert E. Lee,The foreman had, as far as ...
|Women in Science: Marie Victoire Labour 1876-1971
Marie Victoire Labour (1876-1971), like some other early women scientists, became interested in a rather obscure area of study, in her case marine planktonic organisms. She became one of the world'...
|Women in Science: Irène Joliot-Curie 1897-1956
Certainly the Curies were a talented family, mostly when it came to physics and chemistry, with five Nobel Prizes between them, not including the Nobel Prize for Peace awarded to Henry Richardson ...
|Women in Science: Marie Curie 1867-1934
I have hesitated about writing a diary on Marie Curie. With the possible exception of Rachel Carson, more has been written about her than any other female scientist. She was the winner of not just ...
|Women in Science: Emmy Noether 1882-1935
Amalie Emmy Noether was born to a Jewish family in Bavaria on March 23, 1882. By her death she was considered by Albert Einstein and many others the greatest female mathematician in the world at the ...
|Growing Up with Insanity
Awhile back I published a diary on my home schooling experience. I had mixed reactions in part because some said I was extrapolating from a very rare personal experience and others thought that I ...
|Confessions of a Beetle Hunter
One of my early passions in entomology was beetles, especially tiger beetles and scarabs. I even thought to earn my master's degree at Bowling Green because there was a major professor who wanted ...
|Women in Science: Jocelyn Crane Griffin 1909-1998
Of all the female scientists with whom I have had no direct association, Jocelyn Crane certainly had the most influential on my own research. I never met her and the letter I sent to her in the ...
|Women in Science: Doris Cochran 1898-1968
One female scientist was closely associated with my father-in-law, Coleman Goin. Like him, her main interest was frogs. I am talking about Doris Mabel Cochran, who was one of the few women in ...
|Thoughts on Women in Science
I have now posted 24 diaries concerning the contributions of women to science prior to the 21st Century. These have been: Barbara McClintock http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/03/1182755/-Women-...
|Women in Science: Barbara McClintock 1902-1992
Barbara McClintock was one of the great geneticists of the Twentieth Century. She was a Nobel laureate (1983) who studied the genetics of corn (maize). She revolutionized genetics with her discovery ...
In recent years we have heard a lot about "colony collapse" in reference to honey bee colonies. As honey bees pollinate many of our crops, including all stone fruit, apples, pears, and many others, ...
|Women in Science: Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace 1815-1852
The only legitimate child of Lord Byron by Anne Isabella "Annabella" Milbanke, Baroness Byron, was destined to lay the groundwork for the modern computer. Born Ada Augusta Byron in 1815, she became ...
|Women in Science: Hypatia 350/370-415
I am finally getting around to the earliest women recorded reliably to have worked in the sciences. Hypatia was a mathematician and physicist at the nearly legendary Alexandrian Museum and Library ...
|Women in Science: Jeanne Baret 1740-1807
A most unlikely event happened from 1766 to 1775. A woman sailed around the world, partly as a botanical assistant on a scientific expedition. She did so, at least part of the way, disguised as a ...
|Women in Science: Margaret Ursula Mee 1909-1988
Scientific illustration has had a definite effect on field biology, as a recent book and print collection published by the American Museum of Natural History in New York ("Natural Histories: ...
|Women in Science: Jane Colden 1724-1766
There were quite a number of female botanists during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, but for the United States at least, the true pioneer was Jane Colden, who lived in the Eighteenth Century.
|Spirit of Place
I am a scientist by training, and as such, am a skeptic. Although I am a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), philosophically I lean more towards Buddhism, early Taoism (without ...
|Women in Science: Rachel Carson 1907-1964
I almost hesitate to write about Rachel Carson, because so much has been written, and if anything she is more well known to Americans than Rosalind Franklin. However, I can to at least some extent ...
|The Daily Bucket - December in Mesilla Park
Well, December has come in with daytime temperatures around 70 degrees F. and nighttime temperatures between 30-40 degrees F. Only about 140 mm of rain for the year so far, with little in sight. ...
|Insect Folklore and Human History
While the Civil War was raging to the south, one very unusual man was haunting the halls of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. His name was Frank Cowan (1844-1905) and he was working on a ...
|Women in Science: Florence Bascom 1862-1945
When the subject of geology is raised it is only recently that women usually get some mention (although there were more in the past than is generally thought.) It took the efforts of a very unusual ...
Some people have been predicting the end of the world or some part of it probably since Ur. However, the first time I really encountered doomsday or the end of the world (or Judgement Day if you ...
|Women in Science: Rosalind Franklin 1920-1958
The discovery of the structure of DNA, on which much of modern biology is based, was a story about both brilliant insight, abject failure, and "court" intrigue that reads like a novel. I can hardly ...
I was recently asked by a researcher in Hawaii to identify some spiders collected during a study of introduced arthropods on a coral atoll in the Pacific. The specimens arrived from the researcher ...
|How A Religious Boy Became an Evolutionary Biologist
Before I get started on this diary I want to emphasize that this is MY experience and as such applies only to me. Others may have had similar epiphanies, or their experience may be totally different.
|The Daily Bucket - October in the Mesilla Valley Bosque
October brings a wave of migrants through the Rio Grande Valley of southern New Mexico. The mornings are crisp and the insects of summer are making their final flings before the first frost killes ...
|The Daily Bucket - September in the Mesilla Valley
This September was an up and down month, with some early coolness after 90 degree weather. Our vultures (Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura ) are still with us, as are the Rufous Hummingbirds, ...
|Women in Science: Henrietta Swan Leavitt 1868-1921
Pickering's women at Harvard Observatory included some of the best astronomers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. I have already discussed Annie Jump Cannon, but at least one ...
|Women in Science: Florence Merriam Bailey 1863-1948
Although it is somewhat obscured by such greats as Roger Tory Peterson, there were a number of women involved in the study of living birds, including Mary Treat, whom I've written about in an ...
|Women in Science: Edith Marion Patch 1876-1954
Although Edith Marion Patch intended to become an English teacher (she graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1901 with a degree in English) she instead became an entomologist and the first ...
|The Changing Southern Environment
A number of years ago I camped in the Stephen Foster State Park on the western edge of the Okefenokee Swamp. In the morning, after the raccoons had raided the garbage that careless campers had left, ...
|Women in Science: Maria Mitchell 1818-1889
Of the two major women involved with astronomy relatively early in its history, namely Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) and Maria Mitchell, only the latter was an astronomer in her own right. This is ...
|Women in Science: Annie Jump Cannon 1863-1941
Edward Charles Pickering (1846-1919), director of Harvard Observatory, was of the opinion that women were better data processors than men (he found that his maid did a better job than the men he had ...
|The Daily Bucket - The Bosque in August
August is a time for dragonflies along the Rio Grande of New Mexico, and this year is no exception. The fauna at Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park is somewhat different from that in 2011 as there ...
|Birds: Watching Modern Dinosaurs
I have always been a bird watcher of sorts. Certainly a bird lister, but not a fanatic. Birds are interesting, if not always easily observable, and watching even common species and observing their ...
|Women in Science: Alice Gray 1914-1994
Many women were involved in science education, including Arabella Buckley, Ana Botsford Comstock (more about her in a future diary), Mary Treat, and Ann Haven Morgan, among others. Alice Gray was ...
|Women in Science: Mary Davis Treat 1830-1923
In the late 1800s the idea of women in economic entomology was pretty much a non-starter. There were, in fact, only a few men in this embryonic field. However one name of a female stood out - that ...
|Women in Science: Ann Haven Morgan 1882-1966
One of my early book acquisitions when I was just starting out in biology was Field Book of Ponds and Streams by Ann Haven Morgan. Indeed, Professor Morgan's enthusiasm almost converted me to a ...
|The Daily Bucket - Summer in Southeastern Alaska
I was recently able to visit Southeast Alaska. It was a good time to get out of the hundred degree temperatures in southern New Mexico and I jumped at the chance. Alaska is one of about a dozen ...
|The Daily Bucket - June Nights in Southern New Mexico
Night has always been a special time for me. Mysterious, with a slight touch of danger, it can also be a really good time for reflection. Watching the bats and nightjars come out on their nightly ...
|Starry Nights In the Desert
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I. Up until then I had only been mildly interested in astronomy. At this point in my life there was absolutely no chance that I would even go ...
As a field biologist by profession I spent much of my life studying predatory arthropods. My experience was not usually with really venomous animals, but I was often asked to determine the identity ...
|Butterflies in the Southwest
Almost everyone likes butterflies, but of course there are exceptions to every rule. One when I gave a presentation to a group of younger elementary students at a local school, I said that everyone ...
|Women in Science: Arabella Buckley 1840-1929
Many women who worked in science were actually hired as secretaries or scientific assistants for well-known male scientists. One such was Arabella Buckley, who became a science educator and also ...
|The Sea of Cortez - Paradise Lost?
I grew up in SW Arizona and the weather there is quite often humid and hot as a result of the desert heat meeting the damp air from the Gulf of California. In many ways the area, only 140 ft above ...
|Women in Science: Maria Sibylla Merian 1647-1717
Few people had even been interested in the flora and fauna of northern South America until a very remarkable woman, Maria Sibylla Merian, started her project on the insects (and to a large degree, ...
| Puerto Rico's Native and Imported Flora
While working on postdoctoral studies, I spent several weeks during two trips to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, studying the natural enemies of a weevil that was threatening the citrus industry in ...
|The Daily Bucket - May Along the Rio Grande
The Rio Grande, like all Southwestern rivers, has been abused, polluted, channeled, dammed and generally mistreated. It has also been loved and in recent years several nature preserves have grown ...
Microorganisms (generally from a fraction of a micron to several hundred microns in size - a micron is a thousandth of a millimeter) pretty much run the planet Earth. Bacteria predate multicellular ...
|Women in Science: Elizabeth Gifford Peckham 1854-1940
Elizabeth Maria Gifford was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in December of 1854. She was pretty much associated with her birth city for most of her life. She graduated from Vassar College in 1876 and ...
|The Daily Bucket - An Introduction to April In New Mexico
This is my first in a series of Daily Buckets from the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. This has so far been a very dry April in a very dry year. As is typical of the Desert Southwest, there have ...
I grew up in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, spending 25 years of my life there. As an inveterate desert rat and enthusiastic natural historian I soon got to know some of the more prickly ...
|Women in Science: Lise Meitner 1878-1968
The atomic bomb was a major technological accomplishment, despite its moral problems. Some physicists at the time thought that a chain reaction that would lead to a nuclear explosion in which at ...
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