Let Your Ideas Lead the Way
Melissa Franklin is the first woman ever to achieve tenure in the Harvard physics department. She is an experimental particle physicist who has been working on the Collider Detector at Fermilab, an experiment designed generally to study the collisions of protons and anti-protons at the highest energies currently possible. In January, she will be working at the new Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Question: What advice would you give to a girl who wants to be a physicist?
Melissa Franklin: I think it’s important to realize that the most interesting thing about you is what you are interested in. So, what you have to play up is perhaps your interests and follow your interests because that’s actually what’s interesting. That’s the only thing that is ever going to be interesting about you. And that can go a long way in physics, or in science. Just being able to follow your own ideas is really important. That’s not to be totally tied up with the idea of my idea, my idea, my idea, but just to follow in the direction of our own ideas. And honestly, there’s no point in being successful at physics if you can’t. I don’t know if that – I think that is a way to succeed actually, to have a vision.
Recorded on: October 21, 2009
Physicist Melissa Franklin recommends you avoid trying to control where your ideas take you—instead, let them do their own thing.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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