Gina Marie Trapani is an American tech blogger, web developer, and writer. Trapani founded the Lifehacker blog in January 2005, and led it until January 2009. She still writes a weekly column for Lifehacker. She co-hosts a netcast on the TWiT.tv network called This Week in Google with Leo Laporte and Jeff Jarvis. She also hosted twelve episodes of Work Smart, a weekly column, for Fast Company. Gina is currently leading development of a crowdsourcing platform (named ThinkUp) at Expert Labs. She has written two books and also writes for other publications including Harvard Business Online. Fast Company named her one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in 2009 and 2010, and Wired magazine awarded her its prestigious Rave Award in 2006. Trapani was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Writing from Marist College in 1997. Trapani received a Master of Science in Computer Information Science from Brooklyn College (City University of New York) in 1998. She resides in La Jolla, California.
Virginia Heffernan is an American journalist and cultural critic. She has worked as a staff writer for The New York Times — first as a TV critic, then as a magazine columnist, and then as an opinion writer. She has also worked as a senior editor for Harper’s, a founding editor of Talk, a TV critic for Slate, a fact checker for The New Yorker and a national correspondent for Yahoo News. Her most recent book, MAGIC AND LOSS: The Pleasures of the Internet, argues that the Internet is a “massive and collective work of art” and a “work in progress”, and that the suggested deterioration of attention spans in response to it is a myth. Heffernan is known as a playful, stylish and erudite writer; in 2014 Ben Yagoda in the Chronicle of Higher Education named her among his top candidates for “best living writer of English prose”, and she has been called “one of the mothers of the Internet”.
Kirsten “Kiki” Sanford was previously an American research scientist in neurophysiology at the University of California, Davis and is a specialist in learning and memory. She holds a B.S. in Conservation Biology and a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology from U.C. Davis. Sanford has left bench science, and now hosts several video podcasts that are science themed. She is founder and host of the This Week in Science radio show/podcast, a weekly program broadcast from U.C. Davis since June 2000. She also holds a black belt in taekwondo. Starting in late 2007, Sanford expanded her work into online video, starring in both On Networks successful series Food Science and Revision3’s variety show PopSiren. On April 30, 2009, Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour kicked off on TWiT.tv. The show became a podcast with episode 24 and is recorded live on TWiT live Thursdays at 6:00 PM EDT, and is released on Saturdays. In early 2010 Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour made its debut on TWiT live as a live show every Thursday. Pending purchase of the pilot, she is slated to co-host a new skeptical reality TV show called The Skeptologists.
Joanne “Jo” Rowling, better known as J. K. Rowling is a British author best known as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, the idea for which was conceived on a train trip from Manchester to London in 1990. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, sold more than 400 million copies and been the basis for a popular series of films, in which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts as well as maintaining creative control by serving as a producer on the final instalment. Rowling is perhaps equally famous for her “rags to riches” life story, in which she progressed from living on benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years. As of March 2010, when its latest world billionaires list was published, Forbes estimated Rowling’s net worth to be $1 billion. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in Great Britain. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007, and Time magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom. In October 2010, J. K. Rowling was named ‘Most Influential Woman in Britain’ by leading magazine editors. She has become a notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, and Lumos (formerly the Children’s High Level Group).
Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite. The DNA work achieved the most fame because DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) plays essential roles in cell metabolism and genetics, and the discovery of its structure helped scientists understand how genetic information is passed from parents to children. Franklin is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA which led to discovery of DNA double helix. Her data, according to Francis Crick, were “the data we actually used” to formulate Crick and Watson’s 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA. Furthermore, unpublished drafts of her papers (written just as she was arranging to leave King’s College London) show that she had indeed determined the overall B-form of the DNA helix. However, her work was published third, in the series of three DNA Nature articles, led by the paper of Watson and Crick which only vaguely acknowledged her evidence in support of their hypothesis. After finishing her portion of the DNA work, Franklin led pioneering work on the tobacco mosaic and polio viruses. She died in 1958 at the age of 37 from complications arising from ovarian cancer.
Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest person ever to do so at that time. Polgár was ranked number 36 in the world on the July 2012 FIDE rating list with an Elo rating of 2709, the only woman on FIDE’s Top 100 Players list, and has been ranked as high as eighth (in 2005). She has won or shared first in the chess tournaments of Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, León 1996, U.S. Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Siegman 1999, Japfa 2000, and the Najdorf Memorial 2000. Polgár is the only woman to have won a game from a current world number one player, and has defeated nine current or former world champions in either rapid or classical chess: Anatoli Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov.
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow was an American medical physicist, and a co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (together with Roger Guillemin and Andrew Schally) for development of the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. She was the second woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine after Gerty Cori. Born in Manhattan to Simon and Clara (née Zipper) Sussman, she attended Walton High School. Knowing how to type, she won a part-time position as secretary to Dr. Rudolf Schoenheimer, a leading biochemist at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Not believing that any good graduate school would admit and provide financial support to a woman, she took a job as a secretary to Michael Heidelberger, another biochemist at Columbia, who hired her on the condition that she studied stenography. She graduated from Hunter College in January 1941. In mid-February of that aforementioned year she received an offer of a teaching assistantship in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with the primary reason being that World War II commenced and many men went off to war and the university decided to offer scholarships for women rather than shut down. That summer she took two tuition-free physics courses under government auspices at New York University. At the University of Illinois, she was the only woman among the department’s 400 members, and the first since 1917. She married fellow student Aaron Yalow, the son of a rabbi, in June 1943. They had two children and kept a kosher home. Yalow earned her Ph.D in 1945. After graduating, Yalow joined the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital to help set up its radioisotope service. There she collaborated with Solomon Berson to develop radioimmunoassay (RIA). RIA is a radioisotope tracing technique that allows the measurement of tiny quantities of various biological substances in human blood as well as a multitude of other aqueous fluids. RIA testing relies on the creation of two reagents. One reagent is a molecule that is the product of covalently bonding a radioactive isotope atom with a molecule of the target. The second reagent is an antibody which specifically chemically reacts with the target substance. The measurement of target signal is done using both reagents. They are mixed with the fluid containing an unknown concentration of target to me measured. The radioactive atom supplies a signal that can be monitored. The target supplied from the unknown concentration solution displaces the radiolabelled target bond to the antibody. Originally used to study insulin levels in diabetes mellitus, the technique has since been applied to hundreds of other substances – including hormones, vitamins and enzymes – all too small to detect previously. Despite its huge commercial potential, Yalow and Berson refused to patent the method. In 1968, Yalow was appointed Research Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she later became the Solomon Berson Distinguished Professor at Large.