Grandma Got STEM

As a grandmother who works online, I am happy to find the blog Grandma Got STEM. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The blog is a response to the idea that grannies don't understand those fields, evidenced in the phrases "Explain that to me like you'd explain it your your grandma," and "Even my grandma could understand that." That attitude does a great disservice to women through the ages who are quite intelligent and have contributed magnificently to the world's body of knowledge -and also managed to live long enough to have grandchildren. That's a lot of them. Jans Wagner submitted information about her grandmother, Dorothy Gillett (both pictured):

My grandmother (no longer with us) got her BS in Astronomy from Wellesley in 1919, and had a long distinguished career first working on a family business which set up the first radio networks across the country, and ended up working for Lockheed for many years doing orbital calculations on the Mercury and Apollo projects.  One of her titles when she worked for Lockheed was “Head Computer” so I always tell people I came by mathematical talent (such as it is, but I do have a PhD in OR from MIT) because “my grandmother was a computer”.

If you ever travel on the NJ Turnpike, and see all those radio towers in the Meadowlands (salt flats outside Newark) it’s because MY grandparents discovered that radio waves travel much better/farther in waterlogged sands then they do when broadcast off high buildings.   

GGSTEM is full of such stories, from history, from relatives, and from the grandmas themselves. You can submit a story, too! Link -via Boing Boing


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