Monday, January 21, 2013

"We can do it!"

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Some of you are lucky enough to get MLK day off. For us at the Colorado School of Mines it's just another day full of classes and meetings. I bet some of you think that is disrespectful to Martin Luther King Jr. But after being at Mines for three MLK days I think they have it right!  Here at Mines instead of taking the day off we actually celebrate the man and his ideas with Delta Days. Delta is a Greek symbol that is used to denote change in equations. If there is one word that sums up the ideas and goals of  Martin Luther King Jr. it is change.

Martin Luther King Jr. 
My favorite quote from Martin Luther King Jr. is "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." King wrote that in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". It was a letter he wrote to the leaders of churches that were against his movement. If you've never read it then I would suggest you do. 

What does King and his goals have to do with science? Well, I wouldn't have a good answer for that if I hadn't attended the Rocky Mountain Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) this past weekend. CUWip ("cool whip" which my boyfriend pointed out) brought together undergraduate women in majoring in physics from the Rocky Mountain area. 

Much of it focused on future careers and skills needed but the keynote lecture was titled "Why Diverse Teams will Meet the Science and Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century" given by Dr. Margaret Murnane. One of Dr. Murnane's points was that a group can be smarter than the individuals. Science takes collaboration and that collaboration is becoming more diverse. Scientists from different fields are working together to solve some of the world's tough problems. Now I understand that the diversity found in science is much different than the diversity King faced during his day but on some levels they are the same. The fact that there is a Women in Physics conference demonstrates that change can occur. It was great to see all the women together and I can imagine how they will continue to create change during their lives.

Rosie the Riveter
I think both King and Murnane would agree that to conquer any problem the world needs to work together. So on the day of celebration of King's life, I'm glad to be a women in science and I have hope of what the world will be able to accomplish in the future. Like Rosie the Riveter says, "We Can Do It!"