Passing the Torch: Shirley Ann Jackson and Lisa Gelobter

Shirley Ann Jackson and Lisa Gelobter are both pioneers of science as well as advocates for social justice.

An American physicist, Jackson has been involved in several organizations such as the National Society of Black Physicists and the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology. President Clinton appointed her to the chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1995, and in 1997 she played a major role in the founding of the International Nuclear Regulators Association. More than just a physicist, Jackson is also an advocate for women and minorities in science, and she spent much of her life contributing to this and other causes.

Another theoretical physicist is Lisa Gelobter, a pioneer of internet technology. Credited with the development of the animation that is used to create GIFs, she is a pioneer of the video technology that we use today.

Gelobter’s contributions to the development of video on the internet have been significant. She has contributed to the development of several internet technologies, including Hulu and Shockwave, which is used for video games. During the administration of Barack Obama Gelobter served as the Chief Digital Officer for the U.S. Department of Education, for which she streamlined the application process for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. Then in 2016, Gelobter founded tEQuitable and took on the position of Chief Executive Officer, raising $2 million. The company offers a confidential platform for people to reach out about bias, harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace.

These two women have pioneered much of the technology we know and use today. More than that, they’ve also made significant contributions when it comes to advocating for social justice.