Sunday, March 25, 2012

Inspiring Women: Joanne Manaster: Science Love

The Science Goddess, Joanne Manaster, is a tireless science advocate, educator and blogger.

From her story, I learned not only of her youthful modeling career, but how she changed course in her vocation, according to what she knows she likes to do. Joanne wished to become a doctor when she was a child, but found she preferred working in the laboratory. In the pursuit of a PhD, she realized she favored teaching over research and that’s what she does today in the classroom and online.

Let Joanne tell you about her change in perspective, it’s really quite insightful and moving: “I began by wanting to view the heavens with a telescope and then ended up looking into the body with microscopes. I started my life by focusing mainly on science and preferring NOT to be seen, to experiencing a world whose main emphasis is image and being larger than life, to withdrawing back into a studious scientific bent and now putting myself once again out in the world, trying to integrate all that I am in my goal of sharing science.”

Especially, Joanne says, her goal is to encourage young men and women to take in interest in science and not be put off by negative sterotyping. To that end, Joanne goes a long way to communicate the beauty in wonder and the wonder in beauty of the scientific phenomena she encounters.

I’m especially impressed with Joanne’s video book reviews and the range of books she spotlights. One she did with her daughter Amanda on the YA novel Math Girls is particularly enjoyable, focusing on an intriguing combination of math problems and teen romance with the emphasis: "Math isn't hard. Love is."

Or see Joanne’s collection of highlights from video posts on chemistry, Joanne Loves Chemistry to get a further sense of her spectrum of interests.

I’m also fond of Joanne’s discussions of the science of beauty, particularly the chemistry of make up, revealing the use and advantage of science in everyday products.

Some are odd, such as Joanne’s experiment of how many cats can fit in a kitchen sink. Another more reflective example is Joanne’s profile of Jacques Cousteau and how his work influenced her scientific interests.

These are just a few examples, however, and I have seen anything else like what Joanne does. Go see for yourself.

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