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Nobel Winner Had No Wikipedia Page, but Male Colleague Did

The Free Press WV

The Canadian scientist who became the first female Nobel Laureate for Physics since 1963 didn’t have a Wikipedia page until after winning the prize Tuesday. Per Quartz, University of Waterloo professor Donna Strickland’s groundbreaking work in the field of laser technology, which won her the prize, wasn’t deemed significant enough to merit her own page. That all changed with the announcement of her win, 90 minutes after which her new page emerged as one among the just 17% of biographical Wikipedia entries that are about women. Meanwhile, Vox notes that one of Strickland’s co-winners, French scientist Gérard Mourou, has had an entry since as far back as 2005.

Further fueling speculation that Strickland’s gender had a little or a lot to do with her lack of prior recognition, Fortune notes another point of contention that grabbed the attention of the social media commentariat: her academic title. Though the work she co-authored with Mourou helped revolutionize laser technology, Strickland currently holds the relatively lowly title of associate professor. Unwilling to enter the fray, however, was Strickland herself. She told the BBC she’s always been treated as an equal to her male counterparts and that she has just never applied to become a full professor.

‘Made in China’ May Have High-Tech Spying Implications

The Free Press WV

Beijing seems to have figured out a relatively simple way to spy on government contractors and some of the biggest businesses in the US: Implant tiny microchips in the tons of electronic equipment being assembled in China and destined for America. A story by Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the US is in the midst of a secret three-year investigation of the scheme, which it says was uncovered by none other than Amazon. Investigators say that a unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army planted chips the size of a pencil point onto computer motherboards being built for a US company called Supermicro. One source explains that the company is the “Microsoft of the hardware world”—its motherboards are used in servers around the world. Supermicro itself is not implicated and disputes the Bloomberg report.

“One official says investigators found that it eventually affected almost 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors, and the world’s most valuable company, Apple,“ write Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley. Apple, which has since severed ties with Supermicro for what it says are unrelated reasons, says it has never found “malicious chips” in its products. The story says Amazon found the chips while investigating a potential partnership with a startup and alerted the government, though Amazon also disputes the account. Bloomberg, however, says it talked to 17 people who’ve confirmed the investigation into compromised Supermicro products. It’s not clear what, if anything, China has gleaned from the operation, though the story says no consumer information is believed to have been stolen. Read the full report HERE.

First Woman in 55 Years Wins Nobel in Physics

The Free Press WV

Three scientists from the United States, France, and Canada have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for advances in laser physics, including the first woman to take home the prize in 55 years. The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences on Tuesday awarded half the $1.01 million prize to Arthur Ashkin of the United States, and the other half will be shared by Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada, per the AP. Strickland is the third female laureate in physics, but the first in more than half a century, reports the BBC.

The academy says Ashkin developed “optical tweezers” that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them. As the Guardian notes, “this means scientists can hold even living cells in place, allowing them to probe their inner workings.“ Strickland and Mourou helped develop short and intense laser pulses that have broad industrial and medical applications. The Nobel panel’s explanation: “Ultra-sharp laser beams make it possible to cut or drill holes in various materials extremely precisely—even in living matter. Millions of eye operations are performed every year with the sharpest of laser beams.“

Seal, Octopus, Kayaker Make for Riveting Footage

Take that! We can only imagine that’s what a seal was thinking when he slapped a kayaker in the face with an octopus over the weekend. Kyle Mulinder was kayaking off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island with a group of GoPro content creators, Time reports, when the seal emerged from the depths and hurled an octopus into his head. “I was, like, ‘mate, what just happened?‘“ Mulinder tells Yahoo, adding, “It was weird because it happened so fast but I could feel all the hard parts of the octopus on my face like, ‘dun, dun, dun.‘“ The fight between the sea creatures had been going on for some time, Mulinder says, when they took the rumble underwater. When the pair emerged again, Mulinder ended up with a face full of mollusk. The octopus subsequently attached itself to Mulinder’s kayak and had to be pried off, according to reports.

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