David A. Madonia, General Manager
email@example.com • 973-920-7048
Bea Riemschneider, Editorial Director
MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor
Editorial Advisory Board
Charles W. Berndt, C. W. Berndt Associates Ltd.
Adam Giandomenico, Particles Plus Inc.
Scott Mackler, Cleanroom Consulting LLC
Gregg A. Mosley, Biotest Laboratories Inc.
Robert Nightingale, Cleanroom Garments
Bipin Parekh, Ph.D., Entegris Inc.
Michael Rataj, Aramark Cleanroom Services
Howard Siegerman, Ph. D., Siegerman and Associates LLC
Scott Sutton, Ph.D., Microbiology Network Inc.
Art Vellutato, Jr., Veltek Associates Inc.
Bob Vermillion, CPP/Fellow, RMV Technology Group LLC
ADVANTAGE BUSINESS MEDIA
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer
Chief Content Officer
ADVAN TAGE BUISNESS MEDIA, LLC
100 Enterprise Dr., Suite 600, Rockaway, NJ 07866
Phone: 973-920-7000; Fax: 973-920-7541
The blogs section of the Controlled Environments website gives me a chance to write in-depth about timely topics, and to attach my personal voice to the subject matter at hand. A topic that’s become quite close to my heart
recently has been STEM (science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics) education.
Back in May, I wrote about members of the CBS sitcom The
Big Bang Theory sponsoring a STEM scholarship fund at UCLA.
The school holds a special place in the hearts of many who work
with the show … actress Mayim Bialik, who plays the quirky neuroscientist Amy Farrah
Fowler, earned both her bachelor’s degree and her doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA.
The show also employs a UCLA physics and astronomy professor as its science consultant.
Caltech — home of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in whose cleanroom the Mars rover
Curiosity was created — is another educational institution represented on the show, as
many of the main characters are employed there as researchers. One episode even featured
three of the characters working in a cleanroom, and hijinks ensued when a bird somehow
found its way inside.
Another blog entry came about after Nobel laureate Tim Hunt made public remarks
about working with women in the laboratory. “Three things happen when [girls] are in
the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them
they cry,” he told an audience gathered at the World Conference of Science Journalists in
Korea. Hunt was quickly taken to task by social media, and offered a halfhearted apology
via BBC 4 Radio. He later resigned his position with University College London, but in a
joint newspaper interview with his wife (herself a University College London professor)
the couple said that he had been unfairly targeted for his “joking” remarks.
I admit that it was a bit discouraging gathering sources for that blog entry — I searched
for other examples of discrimination against women in STEM fields, and there was certain-
ly no shortage. I picked a few to highlight, such as an article penned by a woman who was
faced with crude remarks upon her admission to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Another photo, which was widely circulated around Twitter, showed a Target
toy aisle that differentiated between “building sets” and “girls’ building sets.”
Speaking of Twitter … within a couple days of the Tim Hunt controversy, a retaliation
of sorts sprang up on the social media platform. A feminist web magazine urged women
scientists to tweet photos of themselves at work, using the hashtag #distractinglysexy in
a tongue-in-cheek manner. The response was overwhelming. Women from all sorts of
STEM-related fields — lab technicians, doctors and nurses, archaeologists, marine biolo-
gists, and many more — used the hashtag to draw attention to their work and the inequali-
ties they face. Also included in this movement were women who work in cleanrooms, and
several of them graciously spoke with me about what they do in the clean lab, as well as
their thoughts on STEM education.
I’m grateful for the blog feature on our website because it enables me to address things
as they happen (and track the response from our readership in real time), rather than have
to wait a few weeks for our print edition — as we all know, in our instant access society,
even waiting a day or two can be too late. Visit cemag.us/blogs for more.