Grandma, What a Big Brain You Have!

Grandma Got STEM

Courtesy of Grandma Got STEM

So, what do particle physicist Helen Quinn, mathematician Mary Ellen Rudin, and chemist Ada Yonath—the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in that field in 45 years—have in common with each other and countless other women? They're all somebody's grandma. Quinn and Rudin have something else in common, too: They're listed on a terrific new Web site called Grandma Got STEM (GGSTEM). 

The brainchild of Rachel Levy, a mathematician at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, GGSTEM is intended to counter the canard that being a mature female with second-generation descendants equals an inability to understand complex or modern ideas.

Levy got fed up hearing people say, as she writes on the site, "That's so easy, my grandmother could understand it."

Slate calls the site "amazing," and this grandma agrees. Levy has issued a call for stories about grandmas with STEM chops and plans to provide readers a "STEM-ma" a day. It's an idea so brilliant yet so simple that I suspect even condescending, narrow-minded ageists/sexists could understand it.

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