At WIRED, one of our goals is to be your guide to the technologies that shape our world and the people behind them. From entrepreneurs and activists to doctors and researchers, WIRED aims to shine a light on the people working tirelessly on science that will benefit us all. Unfortunately, as with all professions, those who have the opportunity to be in the spotlight are often defined less by the impact and importance of their work and more by their personal identifiers, such as their gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.
In this special series, WIRED will spotlight 10 incredible women, some of whom are changing the way we think about the universe and humanity’s place in it, or inventing next-generation genetic screening technology that can help doctors detect diseases early enough to save lives. And it’s important that all of these brilliant scientists are women: not only are there fewer women in science, but women in science are also consistently underpaid and underrecognized; if they are women of color or immigrants, even more so. According to UNESCO, women represent approximately 33 percent of researchers worldwide, and less than 4 percent of Nobel Prizes in science have been awarded to women. Only 11 percent of senior research positions in Europe are held by women.
And it’s not just the scientific community that suffers when women are not included. Science also suffers. Without diverse scientists, we cannot expect to have diverse data. Women are not a minority, but we live in a world designed and optimized for the minority: men. Our health and our lives depend on being included in studies and research that will change the world for the betterment of all human beings.
To shed light on scientists who are often overlooked, WIRED will bring you experts at the top of their fields, including people like Ann McKee, the neuropathologist and neurologist who represents the medical community. leading authority on traumatic brain injuries such as CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition that has affected contact sports for decades. We’ll also talk to Paula Johnson, who will explain how she went from not being interested in medicine to becoming a strong advocate for women’s health and, finally, the first black woman president of Wellesley College.
But let’s look beyond the body and towards the stars. Jessie Christiansen, project scientist at NASA Exoplanet Archive, will ask for your help to find more worlds in the cosmos that may reveal clues about how our own world formed or that may harbor life. And Nergis Mavalvala will share what it was like to be on the team that first time. gravitational waves detected—and thus changed our understanding of modern physics.
WIRED has always been about telling compelling stories that help you understand our world. We don’t just tell a story. We delve deeper into the people who make up the story. In this series, we not only look at the latest advances in astronomy, medicine, psychology, and healthcare, but also at the scientists behind them.