Picture a Scientist

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Nancy Hopkins, PhD

MIT Amgen Professor of Biology Emerita


Nancy Gertner

Federal Judge (Ret.); Professor, Harvard Law

moderated by

Amy Brand

Executive Producer, Picture a Scientist; Director and Publisher, The MIT Press


Dr. Sangeeta N. Bhatia

John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

Picture a Scientist— Ongoing challenges and opportunities for women in STEM

MIT Amgen Professor of Biology Emerita Nancy Hopkins and Harvard Law Professor and Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.) join a conversation moderated by MIT Press Director and Publisher and Picture a Scientist Executive Producer Amy Brand.

The discussion focuses on Dr. Hopkins’ role in forcing MIT to publicly admit it had been discriminating against its female faculty for years, and the ongoing challenges and opportunities for women in STEM.

Presented as part of the 2023 National Evening of Science on Screen.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

Through their personal stories and thoroughly researched data, three scientists discuss the deeply entrenched problems of sexual harassment and gender inequality against women that are no less prevalent in science than they are in pop culture and corporate America.

PICTURE A SCIENTIST chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists - who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

About the Speaker

Nancy Hopkins is an alumna of Radcliffe College, earned a PhD from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Harvard University in 1971, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She joined MIT in 1973 as an assistant professor at the Center for Cancer Research. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hopkins chaired the committee that wrote the 1999 Report on the Status of Women Faculty in the School of Science at MIT. She is a co-founder with Sangeeta Bhatia and Susan Hockfield of the Future Founders Initiative, launched in 2020 to increase the number of female faculty members who start biotechnology companies.

Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.) is a graduate of Barnard College and Yale Law School where she was an editor on The Yale Law Journal. She received her M.A. in Political Science at Yale University. She has been an instructor at Yale Law School, teaching sentencing and comparative sentencing institutions, since 1998. She was appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Clinton. In 2008 she received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, only the second woman to receive it (Justice Ginsburg was the first). She became a Leadership Council Member of the International Center for Research on Women the same year. In 2010 she received the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award. In 2011 she received the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Hennessey award for judicial excellence, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brandeis University. In 2012 she received the Arabella Babb Mansfield award from the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the Leila J. Robinson Award of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts. She has been selected to receive the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement from the American Bar Association Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession in August 2014. She has been profiled on a number of occasions in The Boston Globe, the ABA Journal, Boston Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. She has written and spoken widely on various legal issues and has appeared as a keynote speaker, panelist or lecturer concerning civil rights, civil liberties, employment, criminal justice and procedural issues, throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her autobiography, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, was released on April 26, 2011. Her book, The Law of Juries, co-authored with attorney Judith Mizner, was published in 1997 and updated in 2010. She has published articles, and chapters on sentencing, discrimination, and forensic evidence, women’s rights, and the jury system. In September of 2011, Judge Gertner retired from the federal bench and became part of the faculty of the Harvard Law School teaching a number of subjects including criminal law, criminal procedure, forensic science and sentencing, as well as continuing to teach and write about women’s issues around the world.

Amy Brand (moderator) is the Executive Producer of Picture a Scientist and Director and Publisher of The MIT Press, one of the largest university presses in the world, and an important figure in open access publishing. The MIT Press is well known for its publications in emerging fields of scholarship and its pioneering use of technology. Brand’s career spans a wide array of experiences in academia and scholarly communications. She received her doctorate in cognitive science from MIT and has held a number of positions in scholarly communications, publishing, and open information access at MIT, Digital Science, and Harvard before returning to the press in 2015 to serve as director. She is an associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and serves on the boards of Crossref, Duraspace, Altmetric, and Board on Research Data and Information of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Sangeeta Bhatia earned her BS at Brown University, followed by an MS in mechanical engineering at MIT, a PhD in biomedical engineering at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and an MD at Harvard Medical School. Prior to her appointment at MIT, Bhatia held a tenured position at UCSD. She and her trainees have launched multiple biotechnology companies to improve human health. As a prolific inventor and passionate advocate for diversity in science and engineering, Bhatia has received many honors including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, known as the “Oscar for inventors,” and the Heinz Medal for groundbreaking inventions and advocacy for women in STEM fields. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Academy of Inventors, and Brown University's Board of Fellows. Bhatia is a board member of Brown University, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and the Association for Women in Science.