Female Scientists Shine Amid Grand Central’s Constellations

Starting on Tuesday 19th September, the three-day installation, called “Unseen Stars,”, funded by GE,  projected the faces of distinguished female scientists onto the ceiling. Notable lights will include Mildred Dresselhaus, the “queen of carbon,” and the first woman to receive the National Medal of Science in engineering. Dresselhaus died in February.

Other scientists featured include Laurie Leshin, a geochemist who has searched for life on Mars; Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, a quantum gravity researcher; and GE scientist Danielle Merfeld, an engineer who helps machines talk to each other. In total there will be 12 female scientists and engineers reshaping the constellations from Sept. 19 through Sept. 21. “We wanted to create a new universe for commuters to imagine, one where the uncelebrated are celebrated and the achievements of remarkable women are elevated to new heights,” said Linda Boff, GE’s chief marketing officer.

This celebration of women working in science and technology dovetails with GE’s commitment to increase the number of women employed in technical positions by 2020. In addition to internal goals, GE also wants to publicly celebrate influential female scientists and engineers, and support organizations like the Society of Women Engineers, in an effort to encourage more young women to consider careers in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — fields.

Other scientists and engineers featured among the constellations include Hadiyah-Nicole Green, a physicist who created treatment for cancer using lasers and nanotechnology; Jess Melbourne-Thomas, a marine ecologist who led an all-woman voyage to Antarctica to address climate change; Sossina Haile, a materials engineer who invented solid acid fuel cells for clean energy; and Megan Smith, the first female chief technology officer of the United States.

Also featured are Neri Oxman, an MIT Professor who pioneered the field of material ecology; Kira Radinsky, inventor of an algorithm to predict global incidents and disasters; Sudha Maniam, an engineer who helped doctors see the brain in new ways; and Vera Cooper Rubin, an astronomer who discovered evidence of dark matter.



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