Margaret Murnane, laser physicist, MacArthur “Genius Grant” award recipient and creator of a laser that flashed for 10 quadrillionths of a second (the fastest thing that any human being has ever created) shares the challenges she has faced being a female in the field of science.

Discussion Questions

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  1. Margaret says that if you enjoy doing something, you work harder at it. Has this ever happened to you? Give an example.
  2. What about being a scientist like Margaret sounds fun to you?
  3. Margaret’s students inspire her to continue teaching physics. What or who inspires you in one part of your life?
  4. Margaret talks about how her students “transform” from being afraid of physics and math to feeling confident and excited by them. Can you think of things you’ve learned that you were first afraid of? How did you feel when you finally learned them?
  5. Can you think of a song that represents Margaret’s story?

Listen as Margaret discusses with Zahra Mohamed Ali from Girls Inc of Metro Denver how she overcame other’s doubts about her ability to do physics and how she loves to watch students overcome their fears about not knowing enough. She hopes that circumstances will continue to change to encourage more girls to go into science.

Margaret advises listeners that 95% of success in any field is achieved through perseverance. Margaret’s advice to our listeners is to not let negative comments bring you down and to not let obstacles stop you from fulfilling your dreams.

Further Information

Thank you to our SheHeroes interview team! Interviewer Zahra Mohamed Ali from Girls Inc of Metro Denver and AssistantCarly Fabian of Girl Scouts of Colorado. Behind the scenes, anchor and editor Stephanie May and episode researcher Gloria Yang.

And extra big thanks to our SheHero, Professor Margaret Murnane. This episode was filmed on location at the University of Colorado.

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