5 Famous Female Scientists You Didn’t Know About

While the go-to example of famous female scientists usually reads Marie Curie, making herself noticed in a social context where women were unlikely to gain recognition, our more recent history seems to strive towards a more balanced take on the place of women in the scientific realm. However, this situation is still present; so, without further ado, here’s a brief overview on the breakthroughs of five brilliant women that you have probably never heard about.

1. Mae Jemison – astronaut (born 1956)

MAe Jemison

Mae Jemison was selected by NASA to become an astronaut in 1987. She became one of the most famous African American scientists, when, in 1992  she was part of the crew on Endeavour’s Space Shuttle second mission. Although not the first woman U.S. astronaut, she was the first black female scientist to travel into space, for 126 orbits around Earth, a trip of no more, no less than 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds. In 1993, Jemison retired from NASA to start a personal company focusing on technology.

2. Jennifer Pahlka – computer scientists (born 1969)

Jennifer Pahlka

Pahlka is the founder of Code for America, a non-political organization built to consolidate transparency for local governments by creating open-source software. She is a famous female computer scientist who, prior to her work for Code for America, held a position in the White House, as Deputy Chief Technology Officer. Her initiative is aiming to gather civic-minded computer scientists and hackers in order to create applications in support of government’s tasks for the community. One such application helped local firefighters in Boston through the winter to have the city’s hydrants unclogged of snow. Through this open-source application, Bostonians took on “adopting” the hydrants, keeping them available in case of fires, thus solving an ever-pressing problem for the firefighters.

3. Jane Goodall – primatologist (born 1934)

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Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, this famous woman scientist was described in her biography as “the woman who redefined man.” Through 45 years of studying chimpanzees in Tanzania, Goodall became one of the most prominent names in the field of primatology. She made a series of ground-breaking discoveries about chimps’ behavior and their similarities with that of humans, which made her a notable activist for animals’ rights. On top of her scientific work, she is well-known for a large series of books for kids, depicting the life of animals and aiming to inspire people from all age groups in joining her cause of protecting endangered species.

4. Bonnie Bassler – molecular biologist (born 1962)

Bonnie Bassler

Nicknamed “the bacteria whisperer”, Bassler is a famous female scientist who discovered that bacteria communicate, a process which allows them to synchronize their behavior and act as more complex organisms and induce diseases on humans, as well as animals and plants. This process is called quorum sensing, a concept through which Bassler opened a new line of research for a better understanding of how diseases resist to medication and treatment. Her work is considered extremely promising for solving the issue of the constantly decreasing effect of antibiotics. She is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.

5. Sara Seager – planetary scientist (born 1971)

Sara Seager

Seager is dubbed the “astronomical Indiana Jones” for her persistent interest in the research of exoplanets (planets that are orbiting stars other than the Sun). Through finding and researching the atmospheric conditions of exoplanets, she became a famous female scientist by making it a life mission to discover a planet similar to Earth, one that can sustain life. She is now teaching and working towards that goal as an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT.

The 10 Best Optical Illusions in Photos

We love taking photos and we love optical illusions. Add these two things together, give them a shake and we have a recipe for some fantastic images that will make you scratch your head.

The Vintage Optical Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

If you thought that optical illusions were a modern thing then take a look at this classic. It is pretty simple but looks rather amazing.

The Floating on the Beach Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

It took me ages to work out what was really going on here. It looks for all the world like the woman is floating above the sand on some sort of magical flying carpet. Spoiler Alert: the shadow is the shadow of a flag.

The Plane Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

When this poor chap went to see a show of aerial prowess he presumably didn’t expect the planes to come flying out of his ears.

The Weird Legs Photo

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

I’m going to come clean here and admit that I have no idea what is going on here. I’m guessing that the colour of the guy’s shorts is causing the optical illusion but I just can’t be sure whose legs are which in this photo.

The Llama Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

This is a cool optical illusion of a llama putting his head in the perfect place at the right time. The next time I see one I’m going to try and recreate this exact same photo.

The Little Person Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos 

This is a clever photo, as it fools us into thinking that the guy in the chair is tiny. In fact, he’s a lot further away than he appears to be. I would quite like one of those chairs, I think.

The Which Way Is Up Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

This is a brilliantly weird photo. It was only when I noticed the bottle of water that I could be sure which way is up. I don’t know where this optical illusion photo was taken but I’m guessing that it is somewhere specially built to make it look like really confusing. Either that or some architect completely lost the plot.

Another Weird Legs Photo

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

This lady’s legs look really weird at first, don’t they? Again, it is colour of the side panels (or whatever they’re called) against the background that makes it such a great optical illusion. Just be careful about where you walk when you wear clothes like this.

The Fallen Head Illusion

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

This is another brilliant illusion that it takes a minute or two to understand. At first it genuinely looks as though someone’s head has seriously fallen off. Upon closer inspection, well, it still looks as though someone’s head has fallen off. Upon even closer inspection I’m still mightily confused but I can see a blonde head at the back that appears to belong to the woman with the bare back. That would mean that the loose head belongs to the person with the white t-shirt and is just strangely angled rather than floating about.

The Small Woman and Giant Pringles

Best Optical Illusions in Photos

Is this a small girl or a really giant pack of Pringles? The lack of perspective in places like salt plains can lead to incredibly creative pictures if you put some thought into it. In this case, it led to a fantastic optical illusion.

10 Impressive Presidential Residences from Around the World

1. Presidential Office Building, Taiwan

The Renaissance-baroque styled majestic building was completed in 1919 when Japan ruled the area. Technically this is the Presidential Office of Republic of China. No, not People’s Republic of China, the huge country we all know. The president of this republic, also known as Taiwan, moved into the building in 1950, after ROC lost control of the mainland territory. After WWII, the building underwent massive reconstruction.

 

 

Presidential Office Building, Taiwan

2. Malacañang Palace, Philippines

We bet the president of Philippines often takes a boat ride to clear his mind while enjoying the serene atmosphere before taking a major decision. The first structures of the building date back to 1750, but of course it suffered numerous modifications over the years. Signs of Neo-classical architectural traits are pretty obvious, as this is an example of a style often found in colonized countries.

Malacañang Palace, Philippines

3. The Flagstaff House, Ghana

Is that from Star Wars? No, that is Ghana’s newest presidential palace in Accra. The administration decided they need to move the presidential from the 17th century Osu Castle positioned at the seaside. The construction allegedly cost the state almost $50 million.

The Flagstaff House, Ghana

4. Ak Orda Presidential Palace, Kazakhstan

The style would make you wonder if this a renovated building, but we are witnessing here a brand new construction completed in 2004. When Kazakhstan moved its capital from Almaty to Astana in 1997, the administration wanted to clear things out through a powerful statement like ‘this is the new capital, period!’

 

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5. House of Pizarro, Peru

House of Pizarro from Lima, Peru, accommodates both the government and the president of the country. Although Peru was under direct Spanish colonial influence, the present building completed in 1939 is inspired by the French Neo-baroque style. Obvious choice for any trendy dictator from the first part of the 20th century. When the Peruvian leaders chose the site in 1535, they made sure it stands above a Waka sacred burying ground.

House of Pizzaro, Peru

6. National Palace, Guatemala

Palacio Nacional de Cultura is the pride of Guatemala City and the the seat of the government and president of Guatemala. After several attempts to erect a new central governmental office, the present one was completed in 1943 with the benevolent help of prison workers. Now the building is mostly used as a museum and for official national events.

National Palace, Guatemala

7. Palácio do Planalto, Brazil

The central Brazilian administration is not on the beach in Rio. Probably to get away from the seaside temptations, they decided to build another city closer to the geographical center of the large south American state. Brasilia is almost a brand new city, as it was specifically planned in the 1950s. The brilliant now retrofuturist design of Palácio do Planalto is the work of the world renowned Oscar Niemeyer, a central figure of modernist  architecture.

Palácio do Planalto, Brazil

8. Rashtrapati Bhavan, India

The main structure of Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Residence) is a humble 340-room building. The residence placed in New Delhi has a total surface of 130 hectares, counting the impressive gardens and other buildings. The complex structure was completed in 1929 to house the new presidential office, as the capital was moved from Kolkota to New Delhi.

Rashtrapati Bhavan, India

9. Aiwan-e-Sadr, Pakistan

Even though the construction of Aiwan-e-Sadr began in the newly established Islamabad. Similarly to Brasilia, Islamabad was a planned and developed in the 1960s, when the capital of Pakistan was moved from Karachi to a safer position in the northern part of the country. The building exhibits the similar style present in Brasilia. No more curbs for the presidential palace, as modernism implies rationality and efficiency!

 

Aiwan-e-Sadr, Pakistan

10. Jose Mujica’s Home, Uruguay

We looked at some presidential residences from around the world. Uruguay’s president decided to act differently.

A man’s home is his castle! Probably the saying does not apply more adequately to anyone else but Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay. A humble person, Mujica decided to donate most of his $12.000 salary to the poor and live during his mandate at home together with his wife, who is a senator. He is the best contemporary example of the fact that political power is more than fancy buildings.

President's Palace, Uruguay

8 Fascinating Megalithic Structures

Join us in the quest for some of the most fascinating megalithic structures! But first let’s clear out some stuff. The term megalith has two meanings. One refers to a large stone or group of stones representing a structure. No cement or mortar is used as an interlocking system. The second meaning refers to the prehistoric period when these constructions were erected. Let’s focus on ‘large stone’. In some cases, we are talking about stones weighing dozens of metric tones. When Ethiopia received the monolith Obelisk of Axum, a 79 feet and 160 tonnes, back from Italy in 2005, massive problems were encountered during transportation, which ended up costing $7.7 million.

So how did the prehistoric people assemble these massive structures? This is the question on the minds of researchers. As for why, many of them are considered to be ritualistic sites. However,  we still have no clear idea about how they managed to achieve impressive levels of precision in some complex cases.

1. Callanish Stones, Scotland

These stones are not quite in the way, as they are positioned in the northern part of Lewis and Harris Island in Northern Scotland. A rough estimation regarding the time of construction would be 2900 BC to 2600 BC.  Thirteen stones are positioned in a circle with a 13 meters diameter. The tallest stone is 5 m high, while the average height is 4 m.  One theory says that they constitute a lunar observatory.

Callanish Stones

2. Ale’s Stones, Sweden

Archeologists are still not sure when this boat-shaped megalith structure was created. Some samples were 5.500 years old, but most data suggests that it was erected around the year 600 AD. The 59 boulders, each up to 1.8 t shape a 67 m long structure right next to the sea, but 30 m above its level, offering a stunning view.

Ale's Stones, Sweden

3. Carnac Stones, France

With more than 3.000 standing stones, the site found in Brittany is the largest collection of its kind in the world. They were allegedly assembled between 3.300 BC and 4.500 BC. The local saying is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin.

Carnac stones, France

4. Atlit Yam, Israel

This site is so old that the sea level rose up due after it was constructed.  The ending of the Ice Age rose the sea level by 8 to 12 m in the area, but researchers believe that a 40 m high tsunami caused by Mount Etna’s volcanic event 8.500 years ago was the migration trigger. Besides the 7 megaliths pictured under, researchers have discovered numerous other rich details of how people lived at the time.

Atlit Yam, Israel

5. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

Göbekli Tepe is located in the southern part of Anatolia, one of the richest archeological regions of the world, although this megalith structure is a staggering example. The earliest signs of usage date back to the 10th century BC, but the structure seemed to have been abandoned 2.000 years later. Six meters with heights up to 6 m and weights up to 20 t have been assembled in the pre-agricultural period. The site was first discovered in 1963, but only in the 1990s researchers understood the importance of the site. When excavations are over, history may have to be rewritten.

Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

6. Gunung Padang Megalithic Site, Indonesia.

South East Asia and Oceania are two other major areas containing megalithic sites, but Gunung Padang, located in West Java, is the largest site in the region. The deeper levels of the site were constructed around 4.500 BC, while other layers were added in 500 BC. The volcanic origin megaliths are spread over a hill and form terraces. The total surface? Around 25 hectares.

Gunung Padang, Indonesia

7. Almendres Cromlech, Portugal

The large megalithic complex is considered to be around 8.000 years old. The site contains cromlechs (old word for ‘dolmen’ – portal tomb), as well as menhir (large vertical stones). The discovery of this complex structure spanning an area of 2.800 sq m is quite recent – 1966. Probably the site had a dual function, ritualistic, as well as astronomical.

Prehistory

9. Stonehenge, England

Just a couple of days after President Obama visited Stonehenge, the 4-5.000 years old structure, archeologists announced they discovered “a completely theatrical arrangement” lying underground. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

Joke aside, seventeen ritual monuments have been discovered after the widest and most complex geographic survey to date. Researchers are certain that soon enough, we will have access to all of Stonehenge secrets.

BRITAIN-US-OBAMA

11 Beautiful European Train Stations

We depart in our journey to the most beautiful European train stations from Strasbourg!

1. Gare de Strasbourg

Doesn’t Gare de Strasbourg look like a picture from the future where we have to protect ourselves from the poisonous atmosphere? Gare de Strasbourg was build in 1883, that is the stone building over there under the glass ceiling. The historicist style building was completely covered with a glass ceiling designed by architect Jean-Marie Duthilleul in 2007. Gare de Strasbourg

2. Nyugati Railway Terminal

Nyugati Railway Terminal was built by the Eiffel company – yes, that one – in 1877. Budapest’s municipality made inspired choices when it commissioned the central stations, as Keleti Train Station, the other main station from Budapest is equally beautiful. If you watched Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, you have seen Nyugati right in the first scenes.

Nyugati Railway Station, Budapest

3. Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins

Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins is the main train station of Limoges. Its name comes after the Benedictine monk order as a monastery closed during the French Revolution lied in the area. The present building was finished in 1929. While most train stations are symmetrically designed, Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins is an exquisite example of architectural boldness.

Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins

4. Liège-Guillemins railway station

Liège-Guillemins railway station cost the city of Liege around $400 million. Architect Santiago Calatrava went futuristic all the way with this 100 ft high building. Most train stations were built to last from the start, as well as to serve impressive numbers of people. Thus, you don’t get to see new train stations every day, especially this impressive.

Liège-Guillemins, Liege

5. Antwerpen-Centraal railway station

It is difficult to do justice with just one picture to this Belgium jewel completed in 1905. This voluminous four level structure (607 ft long per 144 ft high) is considered one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. A 1998 reconstruction project turned it from a terminal to a through station. The massive project included complicated underground tunnels, so its no wonder that the final cost was a little more than $2 billion.

Antwerp Central Railway Station

6. Berlin Hauptbahnhof

The largest Berlinese train station serves 300.000 passengers daily. The previous historic French Neo-Renaissance station suffered heavy damages during the WWII and was demolished in 1957.  The reunification of Germany turned out to be an adequate moment, so the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof was opened in 2006.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof

7. St Pancras railway station

St Pancras railway station is the pride of England. Built in 1868, the red brick structure became international in 2007, when it got connected to Paris’ Gare de Nord through the Eurotunel. St Pancras was close to being demolished in the 1960s, but just before the first French train stopped at St Pancras, the train station went through a $1.3 billion renovation. Talk about a change of plans!

St Pancras railway station

8. Madrid Puerta de Atocha

Madrid Atocha is the largest Spanish train station. Actually, it is called a railway complex, as it houses two ground train stations along with an underground one. The present building was opened in 1892 and is the result of a collaboration between Alberto de Palacio Ellissagne, Gustave Eiffel and Henry Saint James. The main building was converted into a museum in 1992 and it now houses a 43.000 sq ft tropical garden among cafes. Neat!

Madrid Atocha railway station

9. Gare de Nord, Paris

This is the busiest European train station, with 190 million passengers served each year. Japan is the only other country in the world with busier train stations. The construction opened in 1864 is featured in numerous French and international films, making it a popular culture icon.

Gare du Nord, Paris

10. Helsinki Central railway station

The present building was inaugurated in 1919, but the station was opened in 1862. By serving 200.000 daily passengers, Helsinki Central is the most visited Finnish building. The clock tower and the main building are covered in Finnish granite, and are some of the most exquisite examples of early modernist style.

Helsinki Central railway station

11. Haydarpa?a Terminal

Haydarpa?a Terminal is one of the busiest rail terminal in Asia and definitely the busiest one in Turkey. The main building was opened in 1908. The terminal connects Asia and Europe with the help of a train ferry which carries the trains over Bosphorus.

Haydarpasa Terminal, Istanbul