FOF #2390 – Queer Science

Sep 13, 2016 · 1985 views

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It’s no secret that LGBT folks have had a profound influence on the arts but they’ve also had a tremendous effect on scientific discovery even though they often had to hide who they were.

Today, we are joined by science journalist Vincent Gabrielle to explore the lives of extraordinary LGBT scientists who changed the world.



    I also developed a crush on Humboldt after reading Andrea Wulf’s recent book on him, “The Invention of Nature”. Even before I got to her discussion of the travel companions and love letters he wrote as an adult, the descriptions of his temperament and behavior as a child were enough for me to clock him as a little gay boy – like me! Wulf’s book is a great, easy read. Another book to get deeper is “Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America” by Laura Dassow Walls.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ryan Murphy needs to do a miniseries with RuPaul as George Washington Carver, he sounds perfect for the role, maybe that gets him an Oscar, maybe RuPaul goes on to get an EGOT, she certainly has an Emmy in the bag. Onwards with this plan, internet make this happen.

  3. Jeff says:

    This was a really great podcast, guys. I wanted to respond to Vincent’s criticism of The Imitation Game, since I happened to watch it last week. The film actually does make explicit reference to Turing’s forced chemical castration after his conviction for “gross indecency.” In one of the final scenes, Turing explains to his ex-fiancee that he was forced to choose between a prison sentence and chemical castration, and he chose the latter so he could continue his work. But the intense mental and physical ramifications of the forced therapy leave him in a damaged state, and the film more or less implies this led to his eventual suicide. I can’t speak to the overall accuracy of Turing’s portrayal, but when it came to his queerness, it was a major element of his character throughout the film and was shown to majorly influence his childhood, his professional and personal life, and ultimately his tragic decline and death.

  4. Nathan says:

    I liked this episode so well that had to listen to it twice. It’s going in my archives.

  5. The water born infection guy was Dr John Snow who deduced that cholera was caused by the water from a public pump in Soho London. He is considered the father of epidemiology.

  6. Artemisia says:

    Hey I’m always a bit behind but I just wanted to say I love love loved your episode about Queer Science.

    It’s kind of funny about Humboldt cus in the Midwest there is Humboldt Iowa and in Omaha NE there is a Humboldt Park… or there was, it recently got gentrified.
    The funny part is why. It was in a run down area where a lot of drugs took hold but also because it’s sort of wear guys would cruz and it had a big rep for the gay park.

    Then I kind of have like a history crush on Alan Turing. I named my laptop Christopher after Turning computer, however I actually had no idea he was gay or what was done to him till way later. I just knew him as the father of the computer and the AI Turing Test, cus I’m kind of a nerd lol.

    So the odd part though. My original name my middle name is Alan. I kept it originally for a family member, however they completely forgot me so I could change it, but after I heard what Briton did to Turing I thought I’m keeping it.
    His story just makes me mad because it’s one of the worst sorts of injustices. His computer decoding messages saved literally millions and then the way they treated him.
    It’s like to think what could he have done if he would have lived.

    Thank you for doing this episode 🙂

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