Friday, 1 February 2013

LGBT History Month UK

With today being the start of the official LGBT History Month I will have a general look at lgbt scientists throughout February.

When the organisers of LGBT History Month UK announced that this year’s theme would be science, maths and engineering I was perhaps just one amongst many who didn’t think there were many out scientists. But I was wrong. The more I looked through my databases the more scientists I found. In doing new research for my Ologies of the Month I have been surprised at how many universities, colleges and scientific groups have lists of lgbt members.

As this is also Black History Month in the USA I will have a more specific look later in the month at black lgbt scientists.

The lgbt group which I want to highlight this month is the National Organisation of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals – NOGLSTP (usually pronounced Noggle-step). They are base in Pasadena, California, and were founded in 1983. NOGLSTP developed out of the 1980 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which discussed homophobia in the science institutions and universities at one of their sessions. They came up with the idea of an lgbt network, and NOGLSTP emerged from it.

One reason why I am bringing this particular group to your attention is that although it is based in the US it has members and connections around the world. Another is that each year they make several awards to lgbt scientists, the only awards given to openly lgbt scientists by their peers in recognition of ground-breaking achievements in their field or in science education.

There are several categories in which NOGLSTP give their awards, and I have listed the main one below :

2004    Dr. Larry Wagner, Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Texas Instruments, for his work on the reliability semiconductors and microchips.

2005    Dr. Sim Aberson, research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for research into hurricane tracking.

2006    Dr. Kerry Sieh, Professor of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology, for research into earthquake geology around the Pacific Rim, and for his services as faculty adviser to Calthech’s Student Pride Association.

2007    Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi, Professor at the University of California and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, for the use of chemical research to help answer biological questions related to health and disease.

2008    Dr. Arnold Zwicky, Visiting Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Ohio State University, for his outstanding achievements in the field of linguistics. He has written many articles on lgbt language in the popular gay press.

2009    Dr. James Nowick, Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, for research into molecular chemistry, and his activism for lgbt issues. He was mentioned in my 12 Gay Days of Christmas on New Year’s Day.

2010    Dr. Jesse Michael Bering, Reader at the School of History and Anthropology, and Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University, Belfast. Awarded for his research into the evolution of human psychology and comparisons to chimp psychology.

2011    Dr. Bill Hendrix of Dow AgroSciences, for research into seed pest control and for creating less toxic pesticides for developing economies. He is leader of the Dow Gay Lesbians and Allies group, and has campaigned for gender identity and partner rights in at Dow.

2012    Dr. Martin Lo of the High Capability Computing and Modeling Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and member of the Instrument Software and Science Data Section. As mentioned a few days ago Lo discovered the interplanetary superhighways – the gravitational “tunnels” – that will make space travel easier.

NOGLSTP also gives awards for LGBT Engineer of the Year and LGBT Educator of the Year, as well as the Walt Westman Award, named after a founder of the group, which is given to a NOGLSTP member in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the organisation. Later in the year, for LGBT History Month USA, I will give a full list of these awards.

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