MIT Portugal Co-Director, Dava Newman, honored by Mattel Portugal with "Astronaut Barbie" on International Women's Day
To celebrate the International Women’s Day, a session was held at the Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciência Viva with a tribute to several women with outstanding roles in the scientific panorama and the presentation of the latest Barbie Scientist, inspired by Dava Newman, director of the MIT Portugal program.
During the morning, Ciência Viva launched the new edition of the book “Muheres na Ciência” (Women in Science).This edition focuses on successful stories from women in a variety of scientific areas, from Biology to Mathematics, from Chemistry to Social Sciences, from Physics to Archeology, from Neurosciences to Geography, from Engineering to History, from Space Sciences to Philosophy that significantly contributed to strength the role of science in Portuguese society , “so that they continue to inspire the new generations in the search for knowledge”, states Rosalia Vargas, president of Ciência Viva. The content also exists in digital form on a permanent exhibit in the Pavilion of Knowledge.
On this International Woman’s Day, using the motto: “Dava Astronaut powered by MIT Portugal” Ciência Viva, in association with Mattel Portugal, also honored the director of MIT Portugal Program, Dava Newman, the inspiration for the most recent Barbie Scientist due to her work and recognition in spacial science worldwide.
Dava Newman is a Professor of the Apollo Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences and Technology Researcher in Cambridge. She is specialist in aerospace biomedical engineering, focusing her studies in the performance of the human body subjected to different gravity conditions. In 2007, she was awarded with Time Magazine’s “Best Invention” for the development of the BioSuit, a space suit that allows the astronaut a better mobility. Dava Newman was also the first woman to assume the duties of deputy administrator of NASA, having been named by Barack Obama.
During her intervention, she stated that the most important message to pass this day was that every child needs to know that they belong, as science needs diversity and passion from all, from engineering to art.
At the beginning of the day, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, highlighted the importance of creating a “more balanced, mature and open society to different attitudes and stereotypes”. The session also counted with the contribute of women with a relevant role in science, namely Chiara Manfletti, from European Space Agency and Zita Martins, the inspiration for the first Portuguese Barbie Scientist, last year.