By Dan Younus
Get to know next year’s SSC executive team and Head Sophs in this exclusive interview!
Questions for the Science Soph Team
- Given the leadership role you are in, do you have any specific goals you would like the Science Soph team, or yourself, to accomplish (Oweek specific goals, charity funds, etc)? If so, how would you accomplish them?
- What do you love the most about the faculty of science?
- If you happened to be exposed to gamma radiation, and were to be given one superpower as a result, what would you like it to be and why?
Kolade Odetoyinbo: Head Soph for the Science Soph Team
Well, being a Soph for the past two years, I’ve noticed that recently we’ve made a huge step towards making sure that our team was, first and foremost, about the frosh. So I’m taking that kind of template, and making that the goal for this year’s team. For example, we’re working on Faculty Day, and trying to make that as interactive as possible. University is all about finding something you like and exploring, and offering students that opportunity is something we’re really trying to work on. In terms of Sophs, we’re really looking for feedback. In first year, students are allowed to evaluate their residence Sophs and staff, and we would really like that for faculty Sophs. So right now we’re working on a survey with the SSC, trying to figure out how to implement that, so we can have concrete feedback on how our Sophs are doing, and what we can tweak as a team.
(Laughs) Man really, what’s not to like? For me, I guess it’s just the whole variety of what there is to do at Western! You go to different classes, meet different people, learn from different professors who teach course material differently. The best part about studying science at the university is that there’s an opportunity to diverge a little a bit, and find little pieces that you can put together and make your own unique experience.
I always kind of wanted to be invisi…. oh wait no I take that back! I think flying would be pretty sweet, that way I could have a different perspective of things while I’m up in the sky. (Authors Note: Kolade seemed to be a tad bit mysterious when answering this question. May he be hiding a secret? An invisibility cloak perhaps? Find out in the next issue of The Current!)
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
In 1967, while working with radio telescopes, Burnell discovered pulsars while she was a graduate student at Cambridge University in England. The existence of pulsars, which are the remnants of supernovas, was ground breaking. It showed that the gigantic neutron stars did not just disappear, but left behind small, dense, rapidly rotating bodies. Her findings quickly resulted in a publication followed by a Nobel Prize, but the award went to her supervisor, Anthony Hewish. “The picture people had at the time of the way that science was done was that there was a senior man—and it was always a man—who had under him a whole load of minions, junior staff, who weren’t expected to think, who were only expected to do as he said,” explained Bell Burnell in an interview with National Geographic. Despite the injustice faced by Burnell at the time of her discovery, it is now universally accepted that she was the first person to make the distinction.
At 33 years of age, while working as a research associate in King’s College in London, Franklin came to a discovery that revolutionized biology and genetics. Through X-ray experiments, she concluded that NA consisted of two chains and a phosphate backbone. Her discovery -captured on an image known as Photo 51 – was leaked to James Watson and Francis Crick at Cambridge University, who were also trying to determine the structure of DNA. Using Photo 51 and Franklin’s findings, Watson and Crick published ‘their’ discovery in a series of articles in 1953. After being recognized for their discovery, Watson and Crick went on to win the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine, while Franklin received no recognition for her role.
Emmy-nominated actress best known for her roles on The Big Bang Theory and Blossom, Bailik possesses a doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA. She wrote her thesis on the hypomathic regulation in people with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Currently, she works towards developing curricula and encouraging young children and women to pursue science.
Well-known for her portrayal of ‘Phoebe’ in the classic show Friends, Kudrow earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from Vassar College in New York. She then worked with her father, who was a headache specialist, for eight years on his study on the likelihood of left-handed individuals developing cluster headaches.
One of the best-known actresses of the mid-20th century, Lamarr was key in the invention of a frequency-hopping communications spectrum. The technology was use by the military – specifically during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 – and has more recently been used in wireless technologies like cellphones. Through her invention, Lamarr became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award in 1997.
Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actress Natalie Portmann was a semi-finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search competition, one of the most elite and demanding high school research competitions in the world. Her project investigated a new, environment-friendly method of converting waste into useful forms of energy. She graduated with honours and her academic achievements allowed her to attend Harvard University to study neuroscience and the evolution of the mind.