Richard Turco-A trip to Bear Valley Springs

  I am deeply honored to present a talk this coming Saturday at Bear Valley Springs, a wonderful retirement community where my UCLA Ph. D advisor, Professor Richard Turco, and his lovely wife, Linda Turco, now reside. Thank you Rich for inviting me! You are simply one of the dearest and kindest human beings I have ever met and worked with. The world needs more people like you to teach, inspire and lead the way. Rich has an uncanny resemblance to Kirk Douglas. At my Ph. D ceremony in 1994 my father  thought he was the legend himself.  To me, however, Rich is a true steward of the Earth and a legend beyond reproach. Scientist to lecture on her escape from Iran Fun facts about Rich (photo caption): Scientist Richard Turco and Carl Sagan were on the scientific team that devised the concept of nuclear winter. In the photo … [Read more...]

My Story: From Iran to NASA and Beyond

It's an honor to present my book, The Sky Detective, at my alma mater on May 19 ( Room 365, Humanities Building). First time to give a talk in the Humanities Department of a major university. I hope the trend continues!   … [Read more...]

The Huffington Post: The Sky Detective

Read the article in Huffington Post about my book: The Sky Detective. The article. … [Read more...]

Life as a Function of X, Y and Z

  I am giving a talk at Stanford this coming Thursday at 4:30 pm: Life as a Function of X, Y and Z". Come if you are a young woman and would like to know how to balance work with family life. X and Y are the independent variables: Your career and your family. X and Y, however, depend on Z, which is the balancing act of managing the two. Getting the Z right is what gives your life meaning and makes you feel happy, satisfied and content. … [Read more...]

Is sexual harassment the reason why women quit science?

  Is sexual harassment the reason why women quit science? I'm afraid the discouraging press coverage regarding this topic in recent years has brought undue harm to young women who wish to pursue scientific careers. Check out a recent NY Times article regarding "sexual harassment" in science: She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk ‘Feelings.’ During my time at UCLA, NASA and Stanford, I did not experience nor do I view sexual harassment to be a major issue for “women in science”. Maybe my upbringing in Iran, where I witnessed everyday sexual discrimination, has conditioned me to not pass judgement about “men in science,” which in my case have all been tremendously professional, insightful, and encouraging!   … [Read more...]

Return to NASA

  Yesterday, I presented a talk at NASA in celebration of the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The topics covered ranged from showing a hula dance, performed by the Nixon Elementary kindergarten class, to the escape route that my brother, Sean Taba, and I took to get smuggled out of Iran in 1982. I was re-invited by the Asian-American advisory committee at NASA because our story of escaping a dictatorship and finding success in America is one that is shared among many nations. … [Read more...]

Book Talk at NASA, Fire Alert, and More…

Book Talk at NASA on March 15 organized by Women's Influence Network (WIN). It was a wonderful event and over hundred people showed up. However, I didn't get a chance to finish my talk. Why? I had a slide up about the Cinema Rex fire/arson on August 19, 1978 in Abadan, Iran that claimed many lives--an event that many historians believe was the key that triggered the 1979 Iranian revolution. As I was discussing the event a lady rushed up to the stage, grabbed the microphone and said, "Smoke is coming out of the control room. Please leave the auditorium immediately." I am going back to NASA to finish my talk, hopefully soon. Stay tuned! … [Read more...]

March 8, 1979: Anti-Veiling Protest in Iran A travel down the memory lane! I was fourteen years old at the time of this protest, which I attended with my mother, Azar, and a group of her friends. Despite Ayatollah Khomeini's promise that he will be a religious leader, two weeks after his arrival in Tehran on February 1, 1979, he began preaching Shariat, mandating all women to wear the veil. Over 100,000 men and women took to the streets of Tehran to protest against veiling on March 8, 1979--International Women's Day. Initially, the Ayatollah backed off, but sadly within a year veiling became mandatory. Below, I share an excerpt from my memoir--The Sky Detective: How I fled Iran and Became a NASA Scientist--recalling the events of March 8, 1979. This excerpt is from the "Revolution … [Read more...]

Packed House at Palo Alto Books Inc.

  Book Talk at Palo Alto Books Inc. on February 16. It was a great event, a packed house and lots of questions. I picked up 18 brand new readers!! Books Inc. did a wonderful job advertising the event to the community. Laughter filled the room as I told the audience about my trip to the White House and the unfortunate Monica Lewinsky scandal that prevented a group of young scientists, including myself, who were there to receive a Presidential Award, to be greeted by the president. Hope to see you at the next Book Talk in SF or Berkeley.   … [Read more...]


A BOOK CLUB gathering at Sandra's beautiful home in Castro Valley on 2/3/16. Thank you SO much Carol for selecting my book, Sandra for hosting, and to you all for reading "The Sky Detective" and sharing your thoughts with me. Almost everyone requested that I tell the story of my journey once we landed at the LAX airport in July 1982 with nothing other than a 6-month student visa, which is where the narrative ends in "The Sky Detective." Write to me if you are of the same opinion! … [Read more...]