Plant Your Feet and Welcome Hope Jahren to RealScientists!

After a week of dynamite discussion with Katie Hinde (@Mammals_Suck) about milk (mammalian and otherwise), science outreach, and equality (in academia and elsewhere), we move from the northeastern U.S. to its southernmost state as Hope Jahren (@HopeJahren) joins RealScientists!

Hope is a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She and her lab conduct laboratory experiments on living plants and analyze plant fossils, with a particular interest in the carbon stable isotope composition of plant tissues. Hope is also an advocate for raising public awareness about science; writing about women, men, and academia at her blog Hope Jahren Sure Can Write.


Why/How did you end up in science?

True Story: I tried to be an artist for a year, but I got hungry. When I tried to be a scientist, they fed me. Twenty five years later, I am still eating. Mostly candy, but that’s beside the point.

Why did you choose your current field/what keeps you there?

I chose to experiment on plants because it does not require IRB permission. The time I save by not dealing with IRB permissions is what keeps me there.

Tell us about your work?

I have way too much of it and I’m way behind on a disconcertingly large proportion of it.

Motivation: why should the lay public care about your research/work?

Because my feelings will be very hurt if they do not.


Do you have any interesting external/extracurricular obligations?

Obligations do not interest me.

Any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?

I read books and then I rewrite the chapters that I didn’t like and send them to the author via his/her publisher. I rarely hear back.

How would you describe your ideal day off? (Scientists are people too!)

Seeing a gory Shakespeare play while sitting in the front row surreptitiously eating pack after pack of butter rum lifesavers.

Welcome Hope Jahren to RealScientists!

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