“Science is Awesome.” Dr. Rabiah Mayas is our Scientist of the Month.

Dr. Rabiah Mayas was honored as April’s Scientist of the Month by the Chicago chapter of the Association for Women in Science. I had the pleasure of interviewing her. We met in her office at the Museum of Science and Industry, high above the exhibits of tornadoes, chick hatcheries, and a German U-boat, to discuss her career and her love of science.

Multicolored 3D renderings of participants heads.
The Fab Lab can scan and produce 3D models of participants heads. Courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.

I couldn’t fit everything into the profile article; here are some more interesting nuggets that I learned along the way:

  • A Post-It-filled “Crazy Idea List” hangs on the wall outside her office, the result of a brainstorming session with her team at MSI.
  • The Fab Lab has a laser cutter where participants can make their own jewelry and holiday ornaments.
  • Rabiah manages an NSF-funded project, “The Art of Science Learning,” in which participants attend workshops on sculpture, jazz improvisation, and juggling. The goal of the project is to see if arts-based training increases scientific creativity.
  • MSI doesn’t house an active science research program on site, unlike other Chicago museums such as the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum.
  • The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft recently awoke after a 31 month hibernation on its way out to analyze a comet.

Is there somebody who you think deserves to be nominated for a Scientist of the Month award by AWIS-Chicago? Please let me know about a deserving individual who “promotes the advancement of women in the fields of science, technology and engineering (STEM).”