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NOVA Picture A Scientist

Top: L-R: Sylvia Geyer, Ph.D.; Raychelle Burks, Ph.D.; Nancy Hopkins, Ph.D. Bottom: L-R: Penny Chisholm, Ph.D.; Jane Willenburg, Ph.D.; Mahzarin Banaji, Ph.D.
© 2021 Uprising LLC
Top: L-R: Sylvia Geyer, Ph.D.; Raychelle Burks, Ph.D.; Nancy Hopkins, Ph.D. Bottom: L-R: Penny Chisholm, Ph.D.; Jane Willenburg, Ph.D.; Mahzarin Banaji, Ph.D.

Stream now or tune in Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Science has provided humanity with invaluable technologies, lifesaving medicines, and awe-inspiring discoveries. But there is also a dark reality to the field: gender and racial discrimination that have persisted for generations.

Women make up less than a quarter of STEM professionals in the United States, and numbers are even lower for women of color. But there is a growing group of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists, exposing longstanding discrimination, and leading the way in making science more inclusive.

On NOVA "Picture A Scientist," a biologist, a chemist, and a geologist lead viewers on a journey through their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from outright harassment to years of subtle slights:

  • Viewers first meet Jane Willenbring, Ph.D., a geomorphologist whose once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do field work in Antarctica becomes one of the darkest moments in her life.
  • Then, Nancy Hopkins, Ph.D., a molecular biologist, shares the many instances of bias that held her back throughout her career, which ultimately led her and several female colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to form a committee to investigate inequalities at the institution.
  • Finally, Raychelle Burks, Ph.D., an analytical chemist, who has had to endure consistent, subtle slights, such as being mistaken for a custodian and being ignored in meetings, shares her perspective on the many challenges she has faced as an African American woman in the field.

Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, scientific visionaries, including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists, provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

Watch On Your Schedule:

This episode will be available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast, for a limited time.

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A NOVA production by Uprising LLC for NOVA/GBH. Executive Producer is Amy Brand. Produced by Manette Pottle, Ian Cheney, and Sharon Shattuck. Directed by Ian Cheney and Sharon Shattuck. Executive Producers for NOVA are Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt. NOVA is a production of GBH Boston. © 2020 Uprising LLC All Right Reserved. Additional Material © 2021 WGBH Educational Foundation.