Hope Jahren from Minnesota, USA, has been interested in trees all her life. She found the peace of the forest in a lab at the University of Oslo. Read the fascinating story of The American lab girl who established a research laboratory in Norway.
The American geochemist and geobiologist Anne Hope Jahren (born in Austin, Minnesota, September 27, 1969) is known for her work using stable isotype analysis to analyze fossil forests dating to the Eoscene. She has won many prestigious awards in the field, including the James B. Macelwane Medal of the American Geophysical Union.
Jahren earned her Ph.D in 1996 at the University of California, Berkeley in the field of soil science. Her dissertation covered the formation of biominerals in plants and used novel stable isotope methods to examine the processes. In 1998, Hope Jahren came to Oslo on a Fulbright scholarship.
From 1996 to 1999, she was an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, then moved to Johns Hopkins University, where she stayed until 2008.
The Jahren Laboratory in Oslo is the fourth she has established from the ground up since then.
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Her research focuses on living and fossil organisms, and how they are chemically linked to the global environment. Using measurements of the stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen her lab group is working to elucidate information about metabolism and environment, both in the Human environment, and through Geologic Time.
Her book Lab Girl (2016) has been applauded as both “a personal memoir and a paean to the natural world”, a literary fusion of memoir and science writing, and “a compellingly earthy narrative.
The book has been translated into 15 languages and has been on the bestseller lists of both the New York Times and Amazon. In 2016, she was named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
In her book Lab Girl, Jahren writes openly about sex harassment of female researchers in American academia. She describes a masculine “pat on the back” culture where women are ignored and ridiculed, a culture where she has to prove more – ergo be more productive – than her male colleagues and close her ears when they talk disparagingly about her. Here in Norway, women are appreciated as human beings, she says.
Jahren recommends that people draw strong professional boundaries, and that they carefully document what occurs, beginning with the first occasion of harassment. You can find more information about these two, plus her upcoming works, on her author page.
Some of her recent research projects include analyzing the carbon isotope composition of terrestrial land plants, the carbon isotope composition of ancient terrestrial organic matter, and the Arctic Eocene, as well as others. You can read about these projects on her research page.
“Even in the worst storms, I still want to be with the plants,” she said in an interview.
The American Lab Girl Who Established a Research Laboratory In Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) Illustration by Kayla Rader, Northwest Vista College