Friday, May 22, 2020

AASWomen Newsletter for May 22, 2020

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 22, 2020
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Cross-post: What are the impacts of performing a Decadal Survey during a global pandemic?

2. 'What Stars Are Made Of' tells the life story of the woman behind a stellar science

3. NASA Telescope Named For ‘Mother of Hubble’ Nancy Grace Roman

4. Correction for last week's Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin article

5. Bletchley Park codebreaker who helped change course of World War II dies aged 97

6. The first footprints on Mars could belong to this geologist

7. Reaching out

8. Women are getting less research done than men during this coronavirus pandemic

9. Job Opportunities

10. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

12. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter


1. Cross-post: What are the impacts of performing a Decadal Survey during a global pandemic?
From: JoEllen McBride via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

The following post was written and contributed by the members of the Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee of the AAS’s DPS.

The Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey is a once-in-ten-years opportunity for the research community to provide critical input into the U.S. strategy for space research. The survey is in its early stages; nominations for panel membership were due on May 1st, and white papers (a major form of community input[1]) are due July 4th.

Read more at

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2020/05/cross-post-what-are-impacts-of.html

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2. 'What Stars Are Made Of' tells the life story of the woman behind a stellar science
From: JoEllen McBride [joellen.mcbride_at_gmail.com]

By Meghan Bartels

"It was a major scientific scandal: Established astronomers insisted the sun was made of the same mix of elements as Earth's crust, only to have a female graduate student publish a meticulous dissertation arguing that they were entirely wrong, that stars are made primarily of hydrogen.

She was right, and with her 1925 dissertation, Cecilia Payne, later known as Payne-Gaposchkin, earned a place in science history. But her story is still little known, and nearly a century after her stunning research, former journalist and retired banker Donovan Moore stumbled on a painting of Payne-Gaposchkin and fell down a rabbit hole."

Read more at

https://www.space.com/what-stars-are-made-of-cecilia-payne-gaposchkin-biography-interview.html

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3. NASA Telescope Named For 'Mother of Hubble' Nancy Grace Roman
From: Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]

"NASA is naming its next-generation space telescope currently under development, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), in honor of Nancy Grace Roman, NASA’s first chief astronomer, who paved the way for space telescopes focused on the broader universe.

The newly named Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope - or Roman Space Telescope, for short - is set to launch in the mid-2020s. It will investigate long-standing astronomical mysteries, such as the force behind the universe’s expansion, and search for distant planets beyond our solar system."

Read more at

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-telescope-named-for-mother-of-hubble-nancy-grace-roman

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4. Correction for last week's Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin article
From: Jay Pasachoff [jmp_at_williams.edu]

[This is a correction to this article submitted last week - https://massivesci.com/articles/cecilia-payne-gaposchkin-hydrogen-helium-universe --eds.]

The following is not quite right, and perhaps you can correct it online: "Eventually, in 1956, Payne-Gaposchkin became both the first female professor, and the first woman to become department chair at Harvard."

She was the first female professor IN THE FACULTY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES.

There had been a medical school professor and some others earlier.

Here's what I recently wrote to Harvard Magazine about Donovan Moore's article:

"Donovan Moore writes, about Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, 'By looking down through a jeweler's loupe, Payne was able to do what centuries of astronomers had tried to do by looking up through telescopes: determine what stars are made of.' But he oversimplifies here (and in the first chapter of his recent biography of her) to the point of incorrectness, since Mrs. G.'s (as we called her) breakthrough was in applying recent theory on how those spectral lines on the photographic plates were formed, not by looking at the plates themselves.

It took some observational work by another young researcher, Donald Menzel, and theoretical work by Henry Norris Russell to overturn long-held beliefs that the stars' elemental abundances were similar to Earth's. Russell’s hesitancy on CPG's conclusion that hydrogen dominates the stars, and later assumption of credit, would probably have been the same for a male graduate student's Ph.D. thesis, as demonstrated by Russell's biographer, historian-of-science David DeVorkin. When Menzel became Director of the Harvard Observatory in the 1950s, he arranged for her to be promoted to professor and doubled her salary.

When I was a freshman in 1959, she was professor of astronomy and chairman (as we called it) of the Astronomy Department. Only years later did I learn that she had been the only female professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the time."

More about the first tenured women professors at Harvard University, including CPG, Helen Maud Cam, and Alice Hamilton here:

https://faculty.harvard.edu/files/fdd/files/timeline-final_32.pdf

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5. Bletchley Park codebreaker who helped change course of World War II dies aged 97
From: Jessica Mink [jmink_at_cfa.harvard.edu]

"Tributes have been paid to Ann Mitchell, one of the last remaining Bletchley Park codebreakers, whose mathematical prowess helped change the course of World War II.

...

James Turing, great-nephew of Alan Turing, said Mitchell had to contend not just with German encryption, but with English societal stigmas.

He said: 'One of the remarkable impacts that Ann had through her role at Bletchley Park was in helping to overcome prejudices typical of the time which would hold people back from achieving their potential.

'In spite of the additional challenges she was forced to overcome she demonstrated how these prejudices could be overcome enabling her to contribute in a vital way to one of the most challenging aspects of Enigma codebreaking - devising menus - a form of program, if you like - for the bombes. James Turing, the founder and chief executive of the Turing Trust, an Edinburgh-based charity that continues his great uncle’s legacy by providing reused computer and teacher training in sub-Saharan Africa, said Mitchell had to contend not just with complex German encryptions, but societal stigmas at home.'

https://www.scotsman.com/news/people/bletchley-park-codebreaker-who-helped-change-course-world-war-ii-dies-aged-97-2855511

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6. The first footprints on Mars could belong to this geologist
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

By Alexandra Witze

"Jessica Watkins spent her PhD studying landslides on Mars. Now she is among the few humans with a shot at being the first to walk on the red planet.

In January, Watkins graduated as a member of NASA's newest astronaut class. As a planetary geologist, she is a leading candidate to participate in the agency's Artemis programme, which aims to send people back to the Moon by the end of 2024. Further down the line - Watkins is only 32 years old - there might even be a trip to Mars."

Read more at

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01473-8

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7. Reaching out
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

Six scientists active in public outreach activities, including Katie Mack (theoretical astrophysicist) and Lisa Randall (theoretical particle physicist and cosmologist) share information about how "to build a better understanding and trust of science."

Read more at

https://www.nature.com/articles/s42254-020-0185-5

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8. Women are getting less research done than men during this coronavirus pandemic
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

Megan Frederickson, a tenured professor, scientist and mom, dug into the data to how the current pandemic is affecting research productivity of men and women. She downloaded submission data from arXiv and bioRxiv, two preprint servers for biology, math, physics and computer science. She found "that the number of male preprint authors is currently growing faster than the number of female preprint authors. In other words, on average, women are not advancing their research as much as men during the pandemic."

Read more and see her data at

https://phys.org/news/2020-05-women-men-coronavirus-pandemic.html

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9. Job Opportunities

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here:

https://cswa.aas.org/diversity.html#howtoincrease

- Project Manager - Navy Precision Optical Interferometer, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff and Anderson Mesa, AZ https://lowell.edu/about/employment

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10. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to aaswomen_at_lists.aas.org

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.

When submitting a job posting for inclusion in the newsletter, please include a one-line description and a link to the full job posting.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email:

Send an email to aaswomen_at_lists.aas.org. A list moderator will add your email to the list. They will reply to your message to confirm that they have added you.

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To unsubscribe from AAS Women by email:

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Leave AAS Women or change your membership settings through the online portal:

Go to https://lists.aas.org/accounts/signup to create an account with the online portal. After confirming your account you can see the lists you are subscribed to and update your settings.

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12. Access to Past Issues

https://aas.org/comms/cswa/AASWOMEN

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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