Melissa Franklin on the Science of Smashing

Which is tougher, finding the world’s smallest particles with a multi-million dollar supercollider, or surviving the halls of the competitive, male-dominated Harvard Physics Department as a women? Melissa Franklin, who visited Big Think this week is the only person in the world who can answer this question—she’s done both. The particle physicist was the first to gain tenure at Harvard, and she has led some pioneering work at Fermilab, and soon will be helping in the operation of the latest giant particle smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (or LHC). We asked her how she got her start, what exactly a particle physicist does (and why), what the LHC will be able to do.


Franklin also poked fun at popular scientists, gave her career advice, and explained what keeps her up at night.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

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In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

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Politics & Current Affairs
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10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

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Personal Growth
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Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

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  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
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