The science community has a problem: Its institutions are failing women

Geobiologist Hope Jahren explains why knowing your legal protections is probably more useful than attending another behavioral seminar on avoiding harassment.

Women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, but only (on average) 23.75% of the science-based jobs out there. Geobiologist and author Hope Jahren wants to make that number higher. She argues that there aren't enough safeguards in place to ensure a safe working environment for women. Are there adequate sexual harassment policies in place, and will the workplace uphold them if need be? Talking about these issues and solving them in public will inevitably draw more women to positions in science, she says, and thus raise the average. Hope Jahren's latest book is Lab Girl, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography.

Discover the Joy and Meaning of Life through Science by Planting a Tree

Geobiologist Hope Jahren: studying the natural world of plants helps us transcend our human form, find joy and meaning in life, and feel more at home in this world we all journey through.

Plants are such a familiar part of our landscape that we easily take them for granted. And our proclivity for ascribing human characteristics to non-human things — a helpful way to understand the world — often has us comparing the similarities between plants and animals. Both need water oxygen, and nutrients to grow, for example, and a host of loose metaphors are found: plants are said to be able to see, feel pain, and even speak to one another. But what really distinguishes plants, says career biologist Hope Jahren, is how different they are from human beings. "The more you study plants," she says, "the more different and deep ways you see they are not like us. ... Any human activity you can point to, you will see something very different in plants."

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Scientists Should Be Less Objective When Writing about Their Research

Science writing, or the way scientists describe their research, purposefully removes the human element, but this is what readers want most, says career biologist Hope Jahren.

Science writing, or the way scientists describe their research, purposefully removes the human element, but this is what readers want most, says career biologist Hope Jahren.