Issue of February 3, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
1. 2012 Heineman Prize
From: Don Kniffen [dkniffen_at_usra.edu]
Dr. Chryssa Kouveliotou, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Dannie Heineman prize in astrophysics, jointly awarded each year by the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society.
The citation for the Heineman prize recognizes Kouveliotou "for her extensive accomplishments and discoveries in the areas of gamma ray bursts and their afterglows, soft gamma ray repeaters and magnetars. The citation particularly mentions her collaborative efforts and "her effectiveness and insights in using multi-wavelength observations." Dr. Kouveliotou is only the second female astronomer to be so honored since the inception of the prize in 1979.
Kouveliotou has received many awards for her work, including the Rossi Prize in 2003, the Descartes Prize in 2004, and the NASA Space Act Award in 2005. She has played a key role in all of the major gamma-ray burst missions especially as a co-investigator on the Compton Observatory/Burst and Transient source Experiment, and the Fermi Observatory/Gamma-ray Burst Monitor as well as an associated scientist on the SWIFT satellite and many other space missions. Though she is perhaps most noted for her forefront work on magnetars, she has been an international leader in organizing multi-wavelength studies of transient phenomena.
To learn more about Chryssa’s career, please see:Back to top.
2. Jan 2012 Issue of STATUS
From: Katy Garmany [garmany_at_noao.edu]
The Jan 2012 issue of STATUS, CSWA’s semi-annual magazine, is now available. Articles in the current issue include:
-What Balance? Lessons from the AAS Special Work/Life Balance Panel by Blake Bullock; -Science Cheerleaders Visit NASA by Lynn Cominsky; -The Fourth International Conference on Women in Physics by Meg Urry; -Unconscious Bias by Caroline Simpson; and -“America’s Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines,” a book review by Joannah Hinz
The issue is posted here:
Table of contents for both present and past issues are here:
Thanks to Nancy Morrison for her efforts in posting this, and for the searchable table of contents. Also thanks to Joan Schmelz for agreeing to serve as acquisitions editor.
STATUS is now entirely electronic. We will be notifying by email all the members who received paper copies in the past. If you would like to be included in this email notification when STATUS is posted, please contact me at the address above.
(Notification is described in the future tense above because your editor is traveling in Chile and Brazil, and doesn't have access to the email list. Readers of STATUS may be amused to hear that these travels included an opportunity for "Mr. Meg Urry" to introduce himself to "Mr. Katy Garmany"!)Back to top.
3. CSWA Response to the NSF Career-Life Initiative
From: Laura E Trouille [l-trouille_at_northwestern.edu]
The NSF recently launched its 'Career-Life Initiative'. This is a long-term plan to develop a set of forward-looking policies and practices to balance career and family life demands in the U.S. STEM enterprise. Establishing such a culture is paramount to recruiting and retaining a high-quality STEM workforce at our nation's academic institutions.
The CSWA has written a response to the NSF's request for ideas and recommendations for this important initiative. Our response provides practical steps and policy improvements with regards to family leave policies, use of grant funds for childcare, provisions for 4-5 year postdoc positions, double-blind review of proposals, elimination of age-bias in fellowships, grants, and awards, and publication of gender submission and recipient percentages for grants.
To read more:Back to top.
4. Dads on the Tenure Track Feel Work-Family Conflict, Too.
From: Nancy Brickhouse [bhouse_at_head.cfa.harvard.edu]
Blog post by Beryl Benderly on January 13, 2012:
The literature addressing the conflicts that women face trying to build academic careers and raise families is vast and has inspired a wide range of policies aimed at making faculty life more "family friendly." But what about tenure-seeking dads with young kids? How do they balance the needs of family and career?
"Research on male academics with young children is limited," write Richard Reddick and co-authors from the University of Texas-Austin in the current issue of the journal Psychology of Men amp; Masculinity. Turns out that fathers, too -- or at least those "trying to play an active, meaningful role" in their kids' lives while also striving to impress the tenure committee -- also feel "pervasive conflict and strain," says a feature article from the University of Texas that describes Reddick and colleagues' study of young faculty fathers:
Some of the ways that faculty fathers deal with these stresses will sound familiar to their female counterparts: "overextending themselves in work and family responsibilities" and "significant time management," according to the journal article. But, just as men and women often express problems such as depression differently, their ways of dealing with career-family conflicts may also differ. Men, for example, appear to share less about their family issues with colleagues, and limit such discussions to fellow faculty dads of young kids, according to the feature piece.
The "progressive" fathers whom the researchers studied believe in equal sharing of home responsibilities and feel misunderstood in the workplace, the article continues. Adding to their stress is the fact that they appear to have little awareness of and make little use of university policies or services intended to help ease the conflict between home and work.
To read more by this author:Back to top.
5. Women in Physics: A Tale of Limits
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
Rachel Ivie and Casey Langer Tesfaye wrote this article for the February 2012 issue of Physics Today:
A newly completed survey of 15,000 physicists worldwide reveals that women physicists still do not have equal access to the career-advancing resources and opportunities enjoyed by their male colleagues.
Of all the sciences in the US, physics continues to have the lowest representation of women. Currently, women earn just 21% of bachelor’s degrees and 17% of PhDs in the field. Discourse about women in physics often centers on representation, and the unspoken assumption seems to be that if the representation of women were to increase to some higher level, all would be well. However, the focus on representation obscures important issues and ignores the day-to-day experiences of women physicists.
In fact, women physicists could be the majority in some hypothetical future yet still in their careers experience problems that stem from often unconscious bias. After all, science, and especially physical science, is seen by many cultures as a primarily male domain. But do women actually experience problems in their day-to-day work as physicists? Do they have equal access to opportunities and resources? If not, how does that inequity affect their careers? If harmful, sex-based differences of access exist, then those of us who care about the situation of women in physics need to come up with a solution that encompasses more than just increasing female representation.
To read more:Back to top.
6. 15-Minute Writing Exercise Closes the Gender Gap in University-Level Physics
From: Meg Urry [meg.urry_at_yale.edu]
Very interesting intervention eliminates the gender gap in physics:
Note that not all universities have such a gap! Women are nearly half the physics majors at Yale and routinely rank at the top of the class.Back to top.
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