Sunday, October 14, 2007

more of the same + a random rant

So, things around here have become a bit routine. Not in a bad way for an MSTP student, mind you, but for you guys as readers. There’s little else about which to write. I mean, as L has already written, our first anatomy exam (not too bad) and first MCB (molecular cell biology, the grad school course a bunch of us take) exam (OI VEH! Don’t get me started…) have past us by, and some MSTPs are currently cranking for their MFM (molecular foundations of medicine, a.k.a. mother f*%&ing molecules) tomorrow. The rest of the MSTPs, however, are chilling until histology (Wednesday’s exam) and physiology (Thursday).

Cliff’s notes: school is moving along, and there is very little that we can write about at this point.

Oh, but it’s interview season! I can honestly say that I love seeing applicants. I take the MD applicants on little unofficial tours where I show them stuff that they don’t get so see on theirs. The MSTP tours, however, are much more thorough. I digress: what I want to get at is if you find me during your MSTP interview, I’ll talk your ear off and distract you from the stress of the whole process.

On to something totally unrelated to life here: does anyone else think that Rosalind Franklin’s status as some sort of feminist martyr is little more than BS? I only bring this up because WIRED magazine is running a thing on the most underappreciated scientists in history, and Franklin is near the top (a position dominated by Tesla, and rightfully so, in my opinion.) Yes, photograph 51 was vital to the W-C model of B-DNA, but honestly, she just took a photograph. She was a good crystallographer in that she could take a good photo, but if she was that good, couldn’t she solve the structure herself? She sat on the data. She was ready to drop the project and leave altogether because she hated working at King’s. Yes, yes, she hated it because King’s was an institution full of sexism, but that had nothing to do with Watson’s or Crick’s ideas. People just make this assumption, which I think was wrong: Franklin was a victim of sexism in science, and Franklin’s photo was used* without her knowledge to elucidate the structure of DNA, therefore she should have gotten credit as the true discoverer of the DNA structure to rectify the sexism.

I don’t buy it. I am not saying anything about her here other than that her role in this particular paper was little more than that of a technician. And at least a technician would have had intellectual input. She had none (for whatever reason: some basically hold to it that she was a hostile bitch and had no interest in any sort of contribution, others say that the man kept her down and disallowed her to add her intellectual muscle should she have it in this particular experiment.) So when I hear someone saying that Franklin is the real discoverer of the double helix, I interpret that as worse than sexism – scientific ignorance and reactionary feminism.

I’m bound to get hate mail/comments about this. Whatever, I have researched this plenty and I love the intellectual exercise.

PS I finally got a camera. Expect some more photographs of life as an MSTP, especially come spring when things really get fun/crazy.


*: “used” is a very, very loose word here. She presented a lot of data to her peers at a talk prior to this, and photo 51 merely received a glanced at by Crick. That’s all he needed to do. He didn’t really use the photograph as the intellectual workhorse of the structural study.

1 comment:

CCLCM Student said...

It's just because the discovery of the structure of DNA was so huge and led to a Nobel Prize. For a woman physician scientist who overcame sexism and opened whole new frontiers in medical research, how about Virginia Apgar? Check her out: