Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Late Trailblazer of Science: Trudy Dickinson

Despite the fact that she lived in a male-dominated world, Trudy Dickinson managed to successfully integrate herself in both the worlds of business and science. Dickinson, alongside Jean Thomas, founded Pentex Incorporated, a manufacturing company that was heavily invested in the production of blood proteins. Her company was single-handedly responsible for filling laboratory notebooks with development and research into blood proteins and their application within the healthcare industry.

Originally founded in 1953, Pentex remained an active player in the industry until 1998, when it was purchased by Serological Proteins, Inc. Despite the fact that Dickinson was successful for nearly 40 years, she was an incredibly humble, science-focused woman. Sadly, this remarkable woman passed away in late October 2016, at the age of 93.

Trailblazer of Science

Trudy Dickinson’s Life

Dickinson led an incredible life, and not just within the scope of her business. A true lover of innovation, she often pushed for her employees to think outside the box. Although she was a formidable businesswoman, she was a scientist first and foremost, and she never overlooked that fact. Born in June 1923 in Texas, she graduated from high school after spending most of her teenage years picking cotton. Not satisfied with the job, she chose to attend North Texas State University. Dickinson went on to earn a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science, majoring in chemistry, biology, and physics, all at the same time, with little more than a trusty lab notebook at her side.

This is an incredible course load for most people, even in today’s world, but, for Dickinson, it is a special accomplishment simply because of the time period in which she graduated. In 1944’s rough political climate, most women were focusing on administrative work, writing, and other female-dominated tasks, rather than seeking out multiple degrees. She also completed a degree in the midst of WWII—a time when most people were focused on the devastation of war.

After serving in a variety of positions within both the healthcare industry and educational industry, including one where she was responsible for achieving an ISO 9002 Certificate of Compliance for the plant at which she worked, Dickinson became a patent librarian for Standard Oil Company. From there she moved to Cook County Hospital, where she served as Director of Biochemistry. It was here that she became inspired to open Pentex Incorporated.

Awards and Achievements

Dickinson didn’t retire until late 1995, after an illustrious career in science that spanned nearly 50 years. Within that timeframe, she was granted a long list of commendable rewards. Some of her best awards include:

  • An Athena Award
  • Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year
  • Honoree in the Harvard Business School Publication: The Women MBA
  • Honorary Doctor of Business Administration at North Central College
  • The Olivet Nazarene University Lifetime Achievement
  • Reed Institute for Advanced Study of Leadership
  • Kankakee Community College 2016 Foundation Visionary Award

In addition to these achievements, she also remained a fixed and steadfast role model for other women who wanted to break into science or business, a constant reminder of what was possible and why women were just as capable as their male counterparts.

Are you a woman in science who looks up to Trudy Dickinson, too? Having the right tools at your side can greatly benefit your research. Visit Scientific Notebook Company for scientific notebooks and other equipment to help make your life’s research much easier.

Pioneer of Science

The White House’s Support for Women in STEM

Some of the greatest scientists of our time have been women. These women had to fight their way to get the recognition they deserved, largely in part because the scientific community was viewed as being dominated by men. In light of this obstacle, many women still managed to stand out and demonstrate to their peers and the world that women could be remarkable.

One of the most notable woman scientists was Marie Curie. She helped develop and create the concepts relating to radioactivity and discovered two radioactive substances: polonium and radium. Due to her unrelenting work in this area of science, Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize not once, but twice. The first time was in 1903, in physics, and the second time was in 1913, in chemistry.

Education in STEM

To further encourage women to enter into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, President Obama created the Educate to Innovate initiative in November 2009. This initiative was launched in order to enable students of both sexes to have access to education in STEM courses. One of the long-term goals of this movement is to help pave the wave for our future scientists to become recognized for their achievements and make them the leading experts in their respective fields.

Over the past seven years, the Obama Administration has continued to encourage young people, including females, to take advantage of available STEM programs in their public school systems. In addition, his administration has continued to expand their efforts to ensure more students have access to the latest technologies and skilled teachers by bringing STEM-related education to more schools across the country.

Did you know President Obama was the first president in history to learn how to write computer code, which he wrote in 2014? In January of this year, he launched a new initiative called “Computer Science for All.” Under this new program, the federal government is investing over $4 billion in states and $100 million in school districts to help them expand computer science programs at the K-12 school levels.

Even though his presidency is coming to an end, President Obama is still responsible for developing the federal budget for 2017. The president has plans to continue to provide funding for various STEM-related initiatives, including the Computer Science for All program, as part of the 2017 budget proposal.

Women in STEM

For young women and ladies considering a career in a STEM-related field, aside from the ability to help shape the future of science, technology, engineering, and math, they also have the opportunity to change people’s perceptions about women in these fields. Not to mention, women in STEM fields tend to not experience the wage gap between males and females common in other non-STEM fields.

To help encourage and get your daughter interested in STEM, we invite you to provide her with official engineering and laboratory notebooks from Scientific Notebook Company. Please feel to call us at 800.537.3028 for further assistance.


The Greatest Minds of All Time Used Scientific Notebooks

Long before there were computers, the greatest minds of all time relied upon scientific notebooks to record their theories, hypotheses, data, tests, and other findings. By hand writing the information in their own personal notebooks, they were able to create a library of works that have been used by other scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and thinkers to further build upon the original concepts and ideas developed by these outstanding people.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie worked alongside her husband Pierre Curie to discover radium and polonium. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Curie continued her research, and she was responsible for creating the term “radioactivity.” Today, her notebooks, along with numerous items she had in her home, are considered too radioactive to handle without proper protection.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

One of the most well-known scientists of our time, Albert Einstein is probably best recognized by the development of his Theory of Relativity. Mr. Einstein avidly wrote in his notebooks, which he later referenced as he made new discoveries. In fact, the first documentation of the Theory of Relativity can be found in his notebooks dating back to 1912 and 1913.

Max Planck

Best known for the development of Quantum Theory, Max Planck did not initially set out to make this discovery. He accidently discovered energy and how it behaves largely, in part, from reviewing data he had collected and recorded in his notebooks.

Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard was well ahead of his time. He invented and built the first rockets using liquid fuel. He also successfully launched the first one in 1926. While many of his colleagues ridiculed him for his belief that one day man could use a rocket to travel to the moon, and quite possibly Mars, his discoveries helped pave the way for the space program and creation of NASA.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud developed the concept of psychoanalysis and helped further the fields of psychology and psychiatry. Dr. Freud made it a habit of recording his concepts in notebooks as he attempted to understand the unconscious mind. While, today, many of his original theories are no longer practiced, they did initially change the way in which people viewed themselves.

Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr is credited with advancing the study of atoms and their structures. It was his work that helped lead to the creation of the Atomic Bomb, and this would not have been possible if he had not documented his theories in notebooks.

Atomic Bomb

Enrico Fermi

Another physicist, Enrico Fermi, started his career by reading two books on physics and documenting changes to many mathematical errors he found. Later, he conducted experiments with neutrons and developed the concept of splitting atoms. He even conceptualized how to create a nuclear reaction. Ultimately his efforts contributed greatly to the development of the Atomic Bomb.

Scientific Notebook Company has hoped you enjoyed learning more about the great minds of all time. For all of your scientific, lab, and engineering notebook needs, please feel to contact us at 800.537.3028 today!


The Science Behind Bees and Emotions

Scientists have long been interested in bees. Bees are an integral part of the success of farming and plant growth around the world. This means that there have been thousands of laboratory research notebooks used to record and analyze bee behavior. A new study has been performed which seems to show that bees experience emotions and display a great deal of intelligence.

Bees and Emotions

Colors and Treats

As part of this study bees were trained using a sugar water reward to choose between a blue flower tunnel and a green flower tunnel. Blue had a treat and green did not. When bees were presented with both flower colors, they either did not enter the tunnel at all or they took quite a while to enter. If the bees were given a tasty sugar treat before being presented with the tunnel that featured both colors they entered a little more quickly.

So, it is one thing to say that bees can be trained to know which colorful blooms will present them with the sweetest reward, but there is no conclusive evidence that these results are based on emotions. More than likely it is a bit of intelligence and the goal of finding the best treats.

Avoidance Behavior

One aspect of the study was to simulate an attack from a predator. After this simulated attack, bees that had not been given a sip of sugar water beforehand took a longer time to begin foraging again. So, does this mean that sugar boosts the bees’ confidence or helps them overcome fear of a predator more quickly?  Again, there are no conclusive results as of yet, but, as humans, we know that a sugar rush is almost like a high and can lead to more outgoing behavior, risk taking, and a general feeling of happiness.


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is often considered a happy hormone. When the dopamine was blocked on the bees in the study, the sugar treat no longer had any effect. The bees’ behaviors were no longer about seeking a reward or basking in a sugar buzz euphoria. The exact science involved in what makes bees behave the way they do, and whether those behaviors can be altered in order to further improve farming and pollination techniques, is still up in the air.

Clint Perry of Queen Mary University of London states, “We normally think of an emotion as the internal awareness of a feeling, but there’s more to it than that. Physical changes to your body and shifts in your behavior accompany sensations of happiness or sadness. Many of these things actually cause the subjective feelings we have; those are all necessary parts of emotion.”

While humans may respond optimistically to most situations when they are feeling the happiest, the result of this study is that bees tend to be optimistic or responsive to food triggers. Of course, like the rest of nature, food makes us all a bit happier!  As for whether bees experience emotions, scientists better get back to the drawing board and purchase several more scientific notebooks for future studies. To learn more about the intersection of science and wildlife, follow the Scientific Notebook Company blog today.

Avoidance Behavior