Women in Science: Carolyn Porco and the Cassini mission to Saturn

Carolyn Porco planetary scientist delivers a fascinating 1 hour scientific tour-de-force of the amazing data and images derived from the ongoing Cassini mission to Saturn.
Richard Dawkins introduction of Dr. Porco is worth the price of admission as well. He delivers a eloquent and comprehensive lead-in to his good friend and colleague’s work and accomplishments. One would almost be afraid to follow such a magnanimous lead-in as he gives her, yet her presentation lives up to every bit of it.
It is phenomenal.
Besides the structure and compositions of the rings and the most prominent moons of Saturn (there’s over 60 in all) and a phenomenal image of the earth and moon from a billion miles away…
(Hers is even better!!)
Dr. Porco provides some moving insights into the likelihood of exobiology (life on other planets and/or their moons throughout the universe, not just Saturn) and our place in universe.
Her perspectives are as enlightening as the data and images she illustrates.

These are the sorts of things the human animal can do when not doing religion. Our accomplishments of the last 150 years of mainstream, institutionalized global science are staggering and those of the past 50 years of space exploration are mind-boggling. Instead of rehashing, re-translating and reinterpreting 2,000 year old primitive “scriptures” ad nauseum searching in vain over and over for the subtle nuance that will truly illuminate the cryptic message of some imaginary god, instead we can examine and explore the real world, the earth, our solar system and the entire universe and learn not some phony claim supposedly drawn from the”wisdom of the ancients”, but discover the very real wonders of our actual existence here and now. Not only is it for real, it’s a way better story:

I’ve done a number of posts now on women in science:
Physics Girl (Dianna Cowern), also here, and here.
Science Educator Emily Calendrelli and again here.
Evolutionary Geneticist Aoife McLysaght.
Biblical Scholar Francesca Stavrakapolou.
Cosmologist Priyamvada Natarajan.

Many more posts to come fersure!

I’ve been asking my female students the last ten years if they feel they have any restrictions on their career choices in any field: STEM, medicine, management, politics, what have you, and they say “No”.

I think women like Carolyn Porco and so many others can show the rest of the world where in so many places, TOO many places women still do not have the freedom to be all they can be in any field, any endeavor, how the whole world could be and should be towards women.

There is only one thing that blocks it: old primitive repressive ideas, mostly from religions.

So check out Professor Porco’s incredible video above and see what the heavens are really like!





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