Panel to focus on careers for women in science at URI
Visting MIT prof. will also deliver annual
KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 21, 2000 --Two University of Rhode Island chemists
will join JoAnne Stubbe, Novartis professor of chemistry and biology at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a panel discussion on Thursday,
April 27 at noon.
One of the URI scientists is an explosive expert while another is an
analytical chemist whose major work has been in the application of high
performance liquid chromatography to biomedical research. Both are pioneers
in their fields and both are women.
The three scientists will discuss careers in science for women in the
Memorial Union Atrium, Room 222AB. At 4 p.m., Stubbe will give an in-depth
technical lecture on her cutting-edge research on ribonucleotide reductases
in the Cherry Auditorium. Both events compose the 2000 Cruickshank Lecture.
Women are sorely underrepresented in science, math, engineering, and
technology both in the nation and at URI. For example, in 1997 at URI, women
received 15 percent of the 33 physical science degrees and 16 percent of
the 126 engineering degrees.
The three panelists are wonderful role models. Dr. Phyllis Brown of
Saunderstown, professor of chemistry, has been fascinated by science
ever since she read about Madame Curie and Louis Pasteur in the ninth grade.
Raised in a world in which science wasn't considered women's work, she attended
Simmons College and graduated from George Washington University in 1944.
Returning to Rhode Island, Brown applied to graduate school at Brown University
but was rejected. "I was a woman and the veterans were returning from
the war," she notes.
Eighteen years, four children, umpteen PTA, Girls Scouts, and League
of Women Voters meetings later, Brown gave Brown University another try,
was accepted, and earned her Ph.D. She came to URI in 1973 and soon developed
an international reputation in the still-young field of using liquid chromatography
to solve problems in medicine. She explains that the HPLC process can separate
the many components in blood. Such understanding has lead to the creation
of better drugs and treatments. Brown has received multiple honors for work.
She has published more than 200 articles. She wrote the first book on the
biomedical and biochemical applications of high-performance liquid chromatography
and co-authored the first book on reversed-phase HPLC. Both books have been
translated into Japanese.
Brown leads an active research group at URI and keeps Pfizer employees
updated by teaching a class for the URI-Pfizer joint master's degree program
in chemistry which she teaches at Pfizer's headquarters in nearby Conn.
The 70ish Brown is still going strong. "People ask me when I'm going
to retire," she says. "I tell them I'll retire when I'm no longer
having fun and that hasn't happened yet."
Jimmie C. Oxley of Narragansett, URI associate professor of chemistry,
is an expert in explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, microanalysis and
hazard analysis. Oxley moved her research group to URI in 1995. She was
principal investigator for the Thermal Hazards Research Center for Energetic
Materials at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology from 1983
through 1995. She is a founding executive in the Research Center for Energetic
Materials; a center supported by the National Science Foundation industry,
government and military labs. Oxley is a visiting scientist at Los Alamos
National Laboratory, a lecturer at the FBI Academy and organizer of special
explosives workshops for government and industrial labs.
She is a reviewer for the FBI, NSF, National Academy of Sciences, National
Research Council National Materials Advisory Board and the Federal Department
of Energy; a member of the NMAB Commercial Aviation Security committee,
a member of the National Institute of Justice technical working group of
Bomb Scene Processing and Explosive Residue Analysis. She has 54 publications
on various aspects of explosives related research. She is a founding member
of the Forensic Science Partnership at URI, a collaboration of the Rhode
Island State Crime Laboratory, which is based at URI's College of Pharmacy,
the other colleges at URI, the state Department of Health, the state's law
enforcement community, and the insurance industry. The partnership provides
some of the best scientific minds for the fight against crime.
MIT professor JoAnne Stubbe, earned her bachelor's degree from the University
of Pennsylvania and her doctorate in chemistry from the University of California,
Berkeley. Her work on ribonucleotide reductases has garnered awards from
the following: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1991; the National
Academy of Sciences, 1992; Cope Scholar Award, 1993; Richards Medal, 1996
(Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society); the Cotton Medal,
1997; Alfred Bader Award in Bioorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry, 1997.
The Gordon Research Conference in honor of its Director Emeritus, Alexander
M. Cruickshank, supports this annual lecture series through an endowment.
Each year, the Cruickshank Lecture is delivered from the fields of chemistry,
physics, or biological science. The URI Chemistry Department through the
auspices of The Gordon Research Conference in Kingston sponsors this year's
lecture. For more information, please contact the URI Chemistry Department
For Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116