Brainy Quote of the Day

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Ginai Seabron...

Ginai Seabron smiles as she exits the Biocomplexity Institute at Steger Hall after the nanoscience graduation ceremony, held the afternoon of May 11.

Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science

On May 11, (2018) Ginai Seabron became the first African-American woman to earn a B.S. in nanoscience from the College of Science at Virginia Tech.

As one of only 20 graduating seniors in the nanoscience major, which is part of the college's Academy of Integrated Science, Seabron accepted her degree at the Biocomplexity Institute in Steger Hall among shouts of support and cheers from her peers, friends, and family.

Social media has proven that more than just her personal connections are proud of her accomplishment.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Seabron said of her post going viral. “It’s overwhelming, but I love it.”

Hours before commencement, Seabron spoke through tears as she reflected on her Virginia Tech experience.

“It is not easy at all being the only African-American in the room,” she said. “It’s intimidating.”

She chose not to give up, and in doing so inspired others to pursue the degree. “I’ve actually helped a few other people in my black community transfer into the nanoscience department.”

Her advice to future students comes from lessons she’s learned along the way.

“Continue to push,” she said. “Rely on your family and your friends. Reach out to your professors. Go to office hours. Create your own office hours if you have to. Be social. Step out of your comfort zone. Get to know the people in your class — they could become your study buddies. You’ll think you’re the only person struggling, but as it turns out, everybody’s struggling.”

Virginia Tech graduate becomes first African-American woman to earn degree in nanoscience

*****

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

Langston Hughes, I Dream A World, All Poetry dot com

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dr. Moddie Taylor...

Dr. Moddie Taylor, Smithsonian

Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology

Moddie Taylor was born on this date March 3, 1912. He was an African American chemist.

From Nymph, Alabama, Moddie Daniel Taylor was the son of Herbert L. Taylor and Celeste (Oliver) Taylor. His father worked as a postal clerk in St. Louis, Missouri, and it was there that Taylor went to school, graduating from the Charles H. Sumner High School in 1931. He then attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 1935 as valedictorian and as a summa cum laude student. He began his teaching career in 1935, working as an instructor until 1939 and then as an assistant professor from 1939 to 1941 at Lincoln University, while also enrolled in the University of Chicago's graduate program in chemistry. He received his M.S. in 1939 and his Ph.D. in 1943.

Taylor married Vivian Ellis on September 8, 1937, and they had one son, Herbert Moddie Taylor. It was during 1945 that Taylor began his two years as an associate chemist for the top-secret Manhattan Project based at the University of Chicago. Taylor's research interest was in rare earth metals (elements which are the products of oxidized metals and which have special properties and several important industrial uses); his chemical contributions to the nation's atomic energy research earned him a Certificate of Merit from the Secretary of War. After the war, he returned to Lincoln University until 1948 when he joined Howard University as an associate professor of chemistry, becoming a full professor in 1959 and head of the chemistry department in 1969.

In 1960, Taylor's First Principles of Chemistry was published; also in that year the Manufacturing Chemists Association as one of the nation’s six top college chemistry teachers selected him. In 1972, Taylor was also awarded an Honor Scroll from the Washington Institute of Chemists for his contributions to research and teaching. Taylor was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Institute of Science, the American Society for Testing Materials, the New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, and Beta Kappa Chi, and was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and the Washington Academy for the Advancement of Science. Taylor retired as a professor emeritus of chemistry from Howard University on April 1, 1976, and died of cancer in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1976.

African American Registry: Dr. Moddie Taylor

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

John E. Hodge...

John E. Hodge, African American Registry (link below)
Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology

John Edward Hodge was born on this date (October 12) in 1914. He was an African American chemist.

From Kansas City, Kansas he was the son of Anna Belle Jackson and John Alfred Hodge. His active mind found certain games and sports to be a challenge. He won a number of model airplane contests in Kansas City. He became an expert at billiards in college, and later in Peoria. Chess was another fascination for John, his father, John Alfred, and his son, John Laurent. He graduated from Sumner High School in 1932 and got his A.B. degree in 1936. Hodge received his M.A. in 1940 from the University of Kansas where he was elected to the PI-ii Beta Kappa scholastic society and the Pi Mu Epsilon honorary mathematics organization. He did his postgraduate studies at Bradley University between 1946 and 1960 and received a diploma from the Federal Executive Institute, Charlottesville, VA in 1971.

Hodges career began as oil chemist in Topeka, Kansas at the Department of Inspections. He was also a professor of chemistry at Western University, Quindaro, KS. In 1941 he began nearly 40 years of service at the USDA Nonhem Regional Research Center in Peoria, IL; where he retired in 1980. During that time (1972) he was visiting professor of chemistry at the University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He also received a Superior Service Award at Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1953, and two research team awards also. He was chairman of the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry of the American Chemical Society in 1964, and was an active member of the cereal chemists and other scientific organizations. After retirement Hodge was an adjunct chemistry professor at Bradley University in 1984-85.

Hodge encouraged young black college students to study chemistry. He made tours of historically Black colleges in the South to assess their laboratory capabilities, and recruited summer interns for research experiences. Hodge was on the board of directors of Carver Community Center from 1952 to 1958. In 1953 he was secretary of the Citizens Committee for Peoria Public Schools; as well as secretary for the Mayor's Commission for Senior Citizens, 1982-85. Hodge was an advisory board member at the Central Illinois Agency for the Aging in 1975. John Hodge died on January 3, 1996.

African American Registry: John E. Hodge

Monday, February 17, 2020

Dr. Bettye Washington Greene...

Science History Institute: Dr. Bettye Washington Greene
Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science

American Chemical Society: Nanotechnology

Bettye Greene was born on March 20, 1935 in Fort Worth, Texas and earned her B.S. from the Tuskegee Institute in 1955 and her Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1962, studying under Wilfred Heller. She began working for Dow in 1965 in the E.C. Britton Lab, where she specialized in Latex products. According to her former colleague, Rudolph Lindsey, Dr. Greene served as a Consultant on Polymers issues in the Saran Research Laboratory and the Styrene Butadiene (SB) Latex group often utilized her expertise and knowledge. In 1970, Dr. Greene was promoted to the position of senior research chemist. She was subsequently promoted to the position of senior research specialist in 1975.

In addition to her work at Dow, Bettye Greene was active in community service in Midland and was a founding member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a national service group for African-American women (actually, more likely one of the alumni chapters). Greene retired from Dow in 1990 and passed away in Midland on June 16, 1995. [1]

*****

Her doctoral dissertation, "Determination of particle size distributions in emulsions by light scattering" was published in 1965.

Patents:

4968740: Latex-based adhesive prepared by emulsion polymerization
4609434: Composite sheet prepared with stable latexes containing phosphorus surface groups
4506057: Stable latexes containing phosphorus surface groups [2]


Spouse: Veteran Air Force Captain William Miller Greene in 1955, she attended Wayne State University in Detroit, where she earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry working with Wilfred Heller.

Children: Willetta Greene Johnson, Victor M. Greene; Lisa Kianne Greene [2]

1. Science History Institute Digital Collections: Dr. Bettye Washington Greene
2. Wikipedia/Bettye_Washington_Greene

Friday, February 14, 2020

Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown...

Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Topics: African Americans, Diversity in Science, Medical Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science

Understanding Nano: Nanotechnology in Medicine

Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown was a medical pioneer, educator, and community leader. In 1948-1949 Brown became the first African American female appointed to a general surgery residency in the de jure racially segregated South. In 1956 Brown became the first unmarried woman in Tennessee authorized to be an adoptive parent, and in 1966 she became the first black woman representative to the state legislature in Tennessee.

Brown was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 7, 1919. Within weeks after she was born, Brown’s unmarried mother Edna Brown moved to upstate New York and placed her five-month-old baby daughter in the predominantly white Troy Orphan Asylum (later renamed Vanderhyden Hall) in Troy, New York. Brown was a demonstrably bright child, and became interested in medicine after she had a tonsillectomy at age five.

When Brown was 13 years old her estranged mother reclaimed her. Subsequently, however, Brown would run away from her mother five times, returning to the orphanage each time. During her teenage years Brown worked at a Chinese laundry, and also as a mother’s helper for Mrs. W.F. Jarrett, who encouraged her desire to become a physician. At age 15, the last time Brown ran away from her mother, she enrolled herself at Troy High School. Realizing that Brown had no place to stay, the principal arranged for Brown to live with Lola and Samuel Wesley Redmon, foster parents who became a major influence in her life and from whom Brown received the security and support she needed until she graduated at the top of her high school class in 1937. Awarded a four-year scholarship by the Troy Conference Methodist Women, in 1941 Brown graduated second in her class from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

During World War II Brown worked as an inspector for the Army Ordnance Department in Rochester, New York. In 1944 Brown began studying medicine at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, receiving her Medical Degree in 1948. After serving a year-long residency internship at Harlem Hospital in New York City, Brown returned to Meharry’s George Hubbard Hospital in 1949 for her five-year residency, becoming Professor of Surgery in 1955.

In the mid-1950s an unmarried patient of Brown’s pleaded with her to adopt her newborn daughter, and in 1956 Brown became the first known single woman to adopt a child in the state of Tennessee. As a tribute to her foster mother, Brown named her daughter Lola Denise Brown.

From 1966 to 1968 Brown served in the Tennessee House of Representatives, where she introduced a controversial bill to reform the state’s abortion law to allow legalized abortions in cases of incest and rape. Brown also co-sponsored legislation that recognized Negro History Week, which later expanded to Black History Month.

The Black Past: Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown

The Unthinkable...

Define Fascism - Seth Tobocman, The Nation
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

1. Don’t obey in advance
2. Defend institutions
3. Beware the one-party state
4. Take responsibility for the face of the world
5. Remember professional ethics
6. Be wary of paramilitaries
7. Be reflective if you must be armed
8. Stand out
9. Be kind to our language
10. Believe in truth
11. Investigate
12. Make eye contact and small talk
13. Practice corporeal politics
14. Establish a private life
15. Contribute to good causes
16. Learn from peers in other countries
17. Listen for dangerous words
18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives
19. Be a patriot
20. Be as courageous as you can

The above is from the book "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century," by Yale Historian Timothy Snyder. Also by the author: "The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America."

From the post "Inevitability, Sports Metaphors and Republics..." March 17, 2017:

Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny warns that republics are not "automatic" nor are they inevitable. It requires a buy-in from the governed, a fundamental knowledge of the mechanism of republics and the citizen's responsibilities in keeping them going. One simple aspect is voting; the other is holding our elected officials accountable for their actions towards their constituency, not their donors or the donor class. That alludes to other forms of government that have the labels: autocracy, authoritarianism, corporatism, kleptocracy, oligarchy, totalitarianism that are the basis of very haunting dystopian novels of hopeless futures, Orwell's "boot stamping on a human face forever." Our lethargy in this country and overseas is due to the near instantaneous access to information, resulting in a citizenry in western nations that would "rather not think about it," or in the spirit of Sinclair Lewis, "It Can't Happen Here." In his prescient essay in 2004, Chris Hedges begs to differ *:

* The movement seeks the imprint of law and science. It must discredit the rational disciplines that are the pillars of the Enlightenment to abolish the liberal polity of the Enlightenment. This corruption of science and law is vital in promoting the doctrine. Creationism, or “intelligent design,” like Eugenics for the Nazis, must be introduced into the mainstream as a valid scientific discipline to destroy the discipline of science itself. This is why the Christian Right is working to bring test cases to ensure that school textbooks include “intelligent design” and condemn gay marriage.

The drive by the Christian Right to include crackpot theories in scientific or legal debate is part of the campaign to destroy dispassionate and honest intellectual inquiry. Facts become interchangeable with opinions. An understanding of reality is not to be based on the elaborate gathering of facts and evidence. The ideology alone is true. Facts that get in the way of the ideology can be altered. Lies, in this worldview, become true. Hannah Arendt called this effort “nihilistic relativism” although a better phrase might be collective insanity.

*****

Among the Founding Fathers’ chief goals was to do away with a government where the king was above the law and had absolute power over the lives of his subjects. In our system, the President, like every other citizen, is meant to be subject to the law. The Founding Fathers were explicit about that intention when they debated the shape the new government they were creating would take. And that quintessentially American view that no man is above the law has been the case up until the presidency of Donald Trump.

The rule-of-law approach to government means not only that a President must himself be accountable, but also that he cannot be permitted to create special rules that he can use to benefit his friends or punish his enemies. Trump’s most recent efforts to manipulate the criminal justice system in this regard are like a four-star fire alarm that should summon the entire country, not just half of it, to put out the fire. This is not a partisan matter – whether a President is a Democrat, a Republican or affiliated with any other ideology, he or she cannot be permitted to turn the criminal justice system into a political weapon.

The rule-of-law approach to government means not only that a President must himself be accountable, but also that he cannot be permitted to create special rules that he can use to benefit his friends or punish his enemies. Trump’s most recent efforts to manipulate the criminal justice system in this regard are like a four-star fire alarm that should summon the entire country, not just half of it, to put out the fire. This is not a partisan matter – whether a President is a Democrat, a Republican or affiliated with any other ideology, he or she cannot be permitted to turn the criminal justice system into a political weapon.

If Trump Is Allowed to Turn the Justice Department Into a Political Weapon, No One Is Safe
Joyce Vance, TIME

*****

We are here because of "The Gipper," Ronald Reagan, who stole money from Social Security to pay for tax cuts for the 1% that made it insolvent. The B movie president was followed by proto reality television "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" leading to "The Apprentice" and the poor acting and business management skills of a grifter that squandered all the money his father every gave him and lost money on a casino - the first time in history.

We are here because to Anglo Americans, the unthinkable was the election and re-election of Barack Obama. He represented to them the existential threat of being numerical minorities circa 2042, even though many will not live to see it (if, as I now have my doubts, humanity is still here).

We suffered eight years of madness about tan suits, Grey Poupon mustard, open outrage at the First Lady Michelle's bare arms - and speculation she was transgender - along with Obama being a secret Muslim, gay communist socialist Martian hellbent on gay marrying their grandchildren, fighting in-their-minds, "hoax" climate change and making them eat veggie burgers. Naked first ladies in filmed girl-on-girl sexual positions and prodigiously pathological lying Russian puppets is apparently, white evangelically fine now; "family values" is now for suckers.

We are here because this country's original sin - slavery and the Apartheid Jim Crow - was an obvious target to exploit with the infrastructure of AM Talk Radio and the Internet that democratized obfuscation in the likes of Alex Jones, Steve Bannon and the alt-wrong; Storm Front and digitized Klansmen in robes or polo shirts with Tiki torches by a Russian power that used it as a Trojan Horse and Achilles Heel.

We are here. What are YOU going to do about it?

This election on November 3, 2020 is consequential. Our federal republic can die as TS Eliot opined "with a whimper."

His winning would be nightmarish, but more frightening is a loss that sparks random violence from armed paramilitaries on which Orange Satan pours gasoline on a pyre. Rising from the ashes like a limp phoenix, he would "declare victory" over the ash heap and no-go zones that would be our former republic.

If there is a twenty-first addendum to Dr. Snyder's points, be prepared to fight post November 3, 2020 if he loses. Michael Cohen, knowing his old boss knew the "peaceful transition of power" would be anathema to the faux billionaire real estate confidence man. 

“Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.”

― John Milton, Paradise Lost

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dr. Gladys W. Royal...

Dr. Gladys Royal (left), Dr. W. E. Reed (left center), R. L. Satoera (right center) and Dr. George Royal (right), with x-ray equipment, North Carolina A&T College, 1961

By THE AGRICULTURAL AND TECHNICAL, COLLEGE, GREENSBORO, N. C. - THE A&T COLLEGE REGISTER, VOLUME XXXII, No. 8 , FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 1961, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42353373

Topics: African Americans, Diversity in Science, Biochemistry, Nanotechnology, Women in Science

See: Biochemistry and structural DNA nanotechnology: an evolving symbiotic relationship.

Gladys W. Royal (August 29, 1926 – November 9, 2002) is one of a small number of early African-American biochemists. Part of one of the few African-American husband-and-wife teams in science, Gladys worked with George C. Royal on research supported by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. She later worked for many years as principal biochemist at the Cooperative State Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Royal was also active in the civil rights movement in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Royal was born Gladys Geraldine Williams on August 29, 1926, in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Dillard University with a B.Sc. at the age of 18 in 1944. She married George C. Royal in 1947.

Royal accompanied her husband to Tuskegee, Alabama, where he taught microbiology in 1947-1948, to Ohio State University and Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, where he was a research assistant from 1948 to 1952, and to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro where he became an assistant professor of Bacteriology in 1952. At Tuskegee and Ohio State she took classes; by 1953, she was sufficiently qualified to become a professor of chemistry at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro.

In 1954, Royal received her M.Sc. in organic chemistry from Tuskegee. She had also taken classes at the University of Wisconsin and at Ohio State University, from which she received her Ph.D. in 1954. Her thesis, The Influence of Rations Containing Sodium Acetate and Sodium Propionate on the Composition of Tissues From Feeder Lambs, involved experimental work in flavor chemistry, testing the effects of various feed regimens on the taste of meat.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Royals collaborated on important research including that funded by the United States Atomic Energy Commission involving bone marrow transplants to treat radiation overdoses. Their work had direct relevance to cancer treatment, which used high doses of radiation and could cause tissue damage. It also reflected Cold war fears of possible nuclear attack.

African-American husband-and-wife teams in science were extremely rare in the early and mid-20th century due to the social, educational and economic climate regarding African Americans in the United States.

The Royals had six children: George Calvin Royal III, Geraldine Gynnette Royal, Guericke Christopher Royal, jazz musician Gregory Charles Royal, Michelle Renee McNear, and Eric Marcus Royal.

Source: Wikipedia/Gladys_W._Royal