The Wednesday Five

In this week’s Wednesday Five: Bio-engineer Frances Arnold is the first woman to win the prestigious ‘Millennium Technology Prize’; the real housewives of Jane Austen; is ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ a tale about sex, drugs, and colonialism?; The New York Times asks if Broadway is woman enough?; and stay-at-home moms and ‘intensive mothering.’



Bio-engineer Frances Arnold is First Woman to win Prestigious Millennium Technology Prize

frances arnoldCourtesy of the California Institute of Technology

When women only make up 16% of chemical engineers, Frances Arnolds’ new accomplishment to garner the coveted Millennium Technology Prize is no small feat. The Prize comes with a 1.1-million award. Arnold, the 59-year-old mother of three, will be able to continue her work on “directed evolution” — a field she created, which aims to create more environmentally friendly ways to make the products we use every day.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she talked about how the idea of “directed evolution” evolved:

How did you get the idea for directed evolution?

It came in almost a fit of desperation.

I was an assistant professor at Caltech, which has lofty aspirations for doing really important work, and I was pretty clueless. I didn’t know how to make proteins. So I started doing lots of experiments simultaneously, and I realized that’s exactly what nature does.

RELATED: The Wednesday Five: Women in the Sciences



The Real Housewives of Jane Austen

Writing for The Atlantic, Sophie Gilbert makes a comparison, we have to say, we wouldn’t have: Why do reality television’s most popular stars so uncannily resemble the heroines of the 19th-century writer’s work? In drawing the connections between Jane Austen’s heroines and the starring women of today’s leading reality shows, including The Real Housewives franchises and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Gilbert makes the case:

But what’s clear reading Austen today, or watching one of the countless adaptations of her work, is how much the women in her novels have in common with so many of the women on reality television. Her female characters are defined by two primary qualities: their privilege and their powerlessness. Her writing focuses almost entirely on women searching for stability and status, deploying the very limited means available to them. Deprived of intellectual gratification or professional empowerment, they scheme, manipulate, and get bogged down in petty rivalries with each other.

Read the full article at The Atlantic.

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