Lois Jenson is a historic figure in the battle against sexual harassment – the lead plaintiff in the field’s first class action lawsuit. As one of the first four women miners in a northern Minnesota mine, Jenson shares what one judge called the “record of human indecency” that she and the other female miners endured for many years – extreme harassment, including one miner grabbing her crotch while other miners watched and laughed. As you’ll hear, it would get even worse than that. The company failed to act. Jenson decided it had to stop, so she took it to court. The years of harassment and seemingly endless legal battles left Jenson physically ill and suffering from PTSD. Yet, still, she recalls the good guys, who, she says, outnumbered the bad. How she regained her health is an inspiring story near the end of our conversation that can inspire so many others who are suffering.
Astrophysicist Sara Seager joins me for a conversation about her leading role in the search for earth-like planets outside our solar system. When she began her search as a graduate student – not just for any “exoplanets” as they’re called, but planets that may have just the right atmosphere to support life – she was greeted with plenty of “no’s.” Not anymore. Our conversation about her search led to insights on creativity, resilience, parenting, and the importance of sleep and free time doing nothing as key ingredients of success. Seager, a Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, also shares the details of a side project that could, one day, change the nature of space exploration: mining asteroids for precious metals. Her thrilling journey began as a child, when she noticed something in the night sky for the first time and asked herself: “Why hadn’t anyone told me about this?”