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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Girl power will bury Lawrence Summers

Thankfully Harvard President Lawrence Summers hasn't had a negative impact on high school girls' desire to success in math in science.

On Monday, the California Academy of Sciences was the backdrop for a daylong seminar for 113 scientifically-inclined Bay Area high school girls, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Lawrence ignited an explosive debate after he said in January that women may not be biologically hardwired to handle math and science as well as men. He later apologized for his comments.

The high school students participated in a variety of scientific experiments. They withdrew "saliva from their cheeks, for example, then using pipettes and centrifuges to extract its whitish threads of DNA, the carrier of the body's heredity code." They also listened to a accomplished female scientists talk and joke about how they succeeded as scientists and researchers.

The students' interests at the seminar spanned the science spectrum, from curing AIDS to researching photosynthesis and studying marine biology. And the girls were enthusiastic and confident in their chances for succeeding.

While men tend to dominate fields like physics, and Summers had to back pedal on his comments, there is progress to be made. And thankfully today's girls aren't easily discouraged. We can only hope their enthusiasm will power them through their studies and project them into these male-dominated fields.

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