What does math have to do with feminism?

I run a YouTube channel with plethora of nerdy videos about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM for short. It is my goal to make these subjects fun, accessible, and normalized for women and gender non-conforming folks. As a recent viewer asked: Why?

I truly wish that me being good at math and science had nothing to do with feminism and inclusion. I want to do math and physics and engineering because I love them! Unfortunately, throughout my education and career, I have experienced the full spectrum of sexism. The same goes for every other woman and other visible minorities, which means it is especially bad for women and gender non-binary folks of color.

So what does this mean? It means that women and other visible minorities do not see themselves in these fields, which means that is less likely that these folks will pursue careers in this fields. It means that women and other visible minorities are told from very early ages that they are not good at STEM subjects and that it’s “okay” if they don’t understand, which prevents them from trying to learn from the very beginning. It means that women and other visible minorities have to constantly prove that we are capable of being good at STEM subjects.

Here’s a specific example: when I was called into a professor’s office in college, my peers told me it was because he wanted to sleep with me. In reality, it was because I was the top of our physics class and, as a result of my hard work, he offered me a research opportunity. My peers’ comments made me extremely uncomfortable and it meant that they did not see me as a hardworking and high-achieving student, they saw me as an object. Their attitudes planted a seed that has been watered every day by others and our society as a whole until it turned into a monstrous weed that threatened to overcome everything else I’ve worked so hard to build. It has taken me as much time and energy to rip up that weed as it has for me to learn these subjects (which is to say: a LOT). And it is work that is never over, because the sexism never ends.

Generally speaking, the constant barrage of sexism in STEM fields only gets worse as women get higher up and farther into their career, which is a huge reason why the small percentage of women who succeed in STEM oftentimes end up leaving these fields.

I don’t want to have to fight to do the things I love and am good at, it is waste of my energy and my time that could otherwise be spent on learning and doing. Sadly, I do not have a choice. My presence in STEM makes me subject to regular sexism, both in person and online. It is not possible to “ignore” sexism, especially when it results in fewer opportunities and recognition.

But what I can do is to help erase these useless and erroneous stereotypes that hold all of us back. I can be a positive role model who is good at STEM subjects and I can create spaces and opportunities for other women and visible minorities to improve representation in STEM fields. Until these fields are equal, I will continue to focus on those folks who have more obstacles and fewer opportunities.

We are all in this society together, and we will only overcome the challenges facing our world if we create space for diverse voices and ideas from the full and beautiful spectrum of humanity. Feminism is about inclusion and equality, and it is as good and healthy for women and non-binary folks as it is for men. So please, help me to open those doors that have been shut and locked for thousands of years so we can welcome every single person to the table.

We cannot fix everything, but we can certainly build a bigger table.

Scientists discover a way to send low energy and long range wireless signals!

Whenever your phone rings or you get a text message, radio waves carry that information, whether in the form of a voice or letters, across vast distances. Different forms of wireless communication use different types of radio waves, which are differentiated by their wavelength and frequency. Cellphone radio waves can travel far, but eventually they lose energy. To make sure that you get that very important text message, cellphone service providers amplify the signal with radio towers. But, some radio waves can travel even farther, like “very low frequency”, or VLF radio signals can travel miles, through air, land, and even water! This method of sending wireless signals is a great way for aircraft and submarines to navigate and communicate.

The catch with these low frequency signals is that creating an energy-efficient signal requires an extremely large antenna, often more than a kilometer long! This requirement limits the uses and practicality of these low frequency signals.

That is all about to change (insert obligatory dun dun dunnnnnn!!!):

Mark Kemp of of the Standard Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and his collaborators have been trying to build a low-energy and long-range radio antenna. In other words, they are trying to have it all.

Kemp and collaborators successfully built a long-range antenna prototype (pictured right) by using a creative approach: rather than using metal as is traditional for antennas, this collaboration used a material that expands and contracts to generate a radio wave. This allows a much smaller antenna that is able to be portable and long range!

We are excited for the possibilities of improved low-energy and long-range communication, particularly in remote areas, as it improves connectivity, safety, and access to services.

To learn more, you can read a more detailed summary of the prototype here: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.1.20190530a/full/

Or read the original published paper in the journal Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09680-2

Science Research is Important! Here’s why.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a paleontologist, geologist, philosopher, and Jesuit priest, wrote: “The history of the living world is an elaboration of ever more perfect eyes in a cosmos in which there is always something new to be seen.” Humans have long sought answers to the mysteries of the natural world. Eventually, our curiosity helped us to develop the scientific method.

 

Today, support for basic scientific research in the United States is shrinking. There are fewer opportunities for careers in research, and we are attracting less and less qualified students both domestically and abroad. This is alarming as the neglect of basic research could be disastrous for our society and our species.

 

As stated by Daniel Kleppner, a physicist at MIT, “If our civilization succeeds in learning to live in harmony with the natural world, science will have played a crucial role in the transition.” Right now, we must convince Congress of this urgent fact. There is much to be optimistic about: the numbers of scientifically literate citizens and members of Congress are growing. But we must speak up about the importance of basic research if we are to save it.

Image result for climate change

Climate change is a serious and life-threatening hurdle for our species. We need new ways to deal with the rapid change in our climate and in our ecosystems. In fact, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) concludes “that previous reports erred in being to cautious: The time to stem the flow of greenhouse gases is shorter than had been estimated. We face the possibility of a runaway situation in which an increase in global temperature feeds back to accelerate global heating. Such a process would lead to a massive change in climate and a catastrophic elevation of sea level. We face a threat to civilization.”

Basic research has brought us tools and techniques that allow us to measure data critical to understanding Earth and the cosmos. For example, GPS few out of simple curiosity about general relativity, studies of atomic nuclei brought us the invention of MRI, and experiments of molecules in space lead to the development of the laser.

Yayy science for bringing us lasers!!
Humanity needs basic research to explore the mysteries of our existence as well as to ensure our species continues to thrive in harmony with nature. We need scientists from all backgrounds to bring new ideas and novel solutions to the table. We need you, dear reader, to ask your most burning questions and to seek answers using whatever tools and resources are available. And of course, to promote science in the classroom, in the community, and in Congress.

 

Please consider calling your local, state, and federal representatives and urge them to support funding for basic scientific research. Our very lives depend on it.

 

 

The inspiration for this post:
https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.4194

FoxBot Founder/CEO at 2019 Ann Arbor Creativity and Making Expo!

AACME-2019-FB.png

Hello to our Maker friends in the Midwest! We are so excited that our founder/CEO, Jen Foxbot, is a featured speaker at the Ann Arbor Creativity and Making Expo on May 19th!

Fox will be doing a live demo involving Arduino and Excel as well as filming a Math Mondays episode at the Ann Arbor District Library. If you’re in the area, swing by, say hello, and learn some cool tech tricks!

To learn more, please visit the AACME website.

Hope to see y’all there!!

Website Updates!

Hello friends!

jenfoxbot here to announce a new & improved (..hopefully, lol) website!!

We’ve moved around and added a lot of things, but it should be more clear and easy to navigate to find the things you are most interested in.

We (in the royal sense) have been doing a ton of administrative work lately, using the tools in our heads rather than tools in our hands, which is why we’ve been slow on the project and video tutorials. Fortunately it means that this will allow us to grow and to do more of the things that you love from us!

That being said, please tell us what you like and what you’d like to see more of! Our goal is to teach you the things you want to learn, and to best do that we would love to hear directly from you!

We are also always looking for help, so if you’d like to contribute to building an early-state company please let us know 🙂

You can leave a comment for us here, or reach out to us directly: FoxBotIndustries@gmail.com

Thank you for your support and go forth to make all the things!