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I’m not a fan of lists of people put together by publications because they tend to be advertising-related gimmicks (“40 under 40!” “50 over 50!” “72 Under 72 Inches!”) but when somebody from New Hampshire shows up on a list titled “Ten people who mattered this year”  from a publication as august as Nature magazine, you notice.

Elena Long, a post-doc nuclear physicist, was chosen as “one of the architects of a first-of-its-kind survey run by the American Physical Society (APS), charting the experiences of physicists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or from another sexual or gender minority.”

This is the sort of non-geeky topic that make scientists uncomfortable, all the more reason to pursue it. And Nature notes that Long doesn’t skip the geekery.

Long has meanwhile won two young-scientist awards offered by her lab and become a co-leader on two new accelerator experiments. “I’ve known a lot of postdocs who’ve done voluntary work, and usually it compromises their science,” says Karl Slifer, Long’s postdoctoral supervisor at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. “I’ve never seen that in Elena.”

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