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IN THE ’60S, Martin Luther King Jr. told Nichelle Nichols, the actress who portrayed Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek series, that her show was the only one he let his kids stay up late watching. His rationale: The positive depiction of an African-American woman. Thirty years later, Star Trek: The Next Generation was the show was allowed to stay up late watching. Crammed next to my father in an old easy chair, I was mesmerized. The portrayals of brave, competent women conducting scientific experiments and exploratory missions nudged me toward imagining a career in science. But unlike the majority of scientists for whom Star Trek was an inspiration, I didn’t choose physics or... Full story

12 January