Spotlight on Dr. Kutlu Aslihan Yener
Dr. Kutlu Aslihan Yener is a Turkish American archaeologist who specializes in archeometallurgy and its connections to ancient trade and industry. Her discoveries and work on ancient tin mines in Anatolia (a peninsula in Turkey) proved that Anatolia as an important producer of tin (an important alloy in copper) during the Bronze Age, and indeed that trade during the Bronze Age was much more complicated and complex then previously thought. She also developed a new method of determining the chemical composition of artifacts.
Dr. Yener was born on July 21, 1946, in Istanbul Turkey, but moved with her parents to the United States when she was six months old. She was interested in science as a young child, stating she “almost lived at the Natural History Museum” (Yount, 2008). Yener originally attended Adelphi University, majoring in chemistry, but transferred to Robert College in Istanbul in 1966, where she changed her major to archaeology. She graduated in 1969, and completed her PhD at Columbia University in 1980.
Dr. Yener turned her attention to studying tin mines during her tenure as an associate professor at Bosporus University. Tin is an important metal used to make bronze, a metal that was primarily used during the Bronze Age (3000 to 1100 B.C). In 1987, Yener discovered an ancient tin mine in the mountains of Anatolia which had been used during the Bronze Age. This contradicted archeological thinking about trade in Anatolia, as silver and lead mines had been discovered, but never tin. As well, old writings suggested that the tin was imported from further east, not that it was produced in the region. In 1989, Yener also discovered the remains of a site named Goltepe near the mine. Excavations of Goltepe showed that tin smelting had occurred in it, proving that Anatolia was an important producer of tin during the Bronze Age. Yener moved to the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago in 1994, where she pioneered a new technique for chemically analyzing ancient objects. Working collaboratively with Argonne Laboratory, Yener passed high energy X-rays (also known as HEX-rays, they penetrate deeper into objects and don’t cause radiation damage to them) through objects. This allows for differentiation between the different object parts and their constituent materials, as well as allowing insights into how the object was mended and made.
Dr. Yener currently works at Koç University in Istanbul and the Near Eastern Languages and Civilization department at the University of Chicago.
Sources: A-Z of Women in Science (Yount), UChicago
LEGO’s new toys celebrate women in scienceGood news for lovers of tiny, plastic science - female LEGO researchers will hit shelves this August.
LEGO has announced they’ll be launching a range of female scientist figurines, along with their lab gear - and they’ll be on sale in time for Christmas.
The new set is a result of the LEGO Ideas project, which allows users to create and upload their own toy concepts. People then vote on the ideas and the winner is turned into a real product, as Geekosystem reports.
Previous winners have included a Mars Curiosity Rover and a DeLorien from Back to the Future, but we’re not sure that they’re as awesome of the winner of this Winter 2014 Review - which includes a female palaeontologist, astronomer and chemist, AND a dinosaur skeleton.
The set will be titled the LEGO Research Institute and the idea was initially submitted by Alatariel Elensar, who wrote, “The motto of these scientists is clear: explore the world and beyond!”
Here’s hoping the toys inspire a whole new generation of researchers.