Wonderwise

About the Scientist

Margaret Bolick is a botanist who specializes in pollen. She searches for pollen in the remains of fossil animals to learn more about events in the prehistoric past. She also researches present-day pollen and the role it plays in human allergies.

 

Peg Bolick

Biography of Margaret (Peg) Bolick

Find out more about Peg on the Pollen Detective CD-ROM. The complete biography is 13 pages and includes a glossary.

It took a cat to make Peg Bolick decide what she wanted to do with her life.

She knew she was interested in science. As early as ages six and seven, Peg and a younger brother "went through the dinosaur crazy stage" reading about dinosaurs and drawing dinosaurs in crayon on the driveway and sidewalk in front of their house in the suburbs of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Then when Peg was 13, a Sunday school teacher who didn't think the science of evolution was at odds with religion got her really interested in how animals and plants gradually changed to become the forms of life they are today.

Peg's uncle, who did research to predict tropical storms, encouraged her interest in science. In high school, she had "an absolutely brilliant" chemistry and physics teacher whose love of science "was very contagious," she says. In college, she really enjoyed freshman biology.

But then came college sophomore anatomy. She had to choose between anatomy of vertebrate animals, which would mean having to dissect a cat, or plant anatomy. And Peg decided right then and there to become a botanist -- a scientist who works with plants.

"This is an alternative to killing and cutting up animals," she says. "You can study evolution either way" -- by studying plants or animals.Peg at seven

Today Margaret (Peg) Bolick, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Curator of Botany at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Being curator of botany means she manages the museum's plant collection, plans exhibits about plants for museum visitors, and writes articles for the public. As an associate professor, she does research on pollen, teaches and writes for scientific journals.

Peg in grade school, age 7
Photo courtesy of Peg Bolick

 

 

(excerpted from the biography written by Mary Knudson. The entire biography is available on the Pollen Detective CD-ROM.)

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9909496.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).