Friday, August 15, 2014

AASWOMEN Newsletter for August 15, 2014

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 15, 2014
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. All Sparks Are Good Sparks
2. Report from 5th International Conference on Women in Physics 
3. Career Profiles: Astronomer to President of a Defense Industry Company
4. AAS/DPS Astronomy Ambassadors Outreach Workshop
5. Top Math Prize Has Its First Female Winner
6. Should Women "Man Up" for Male-dominated Fields?
7. How "The Big Bang Theory" Represents Women in Science
8. Why are the media so obsessed with female scientists' appearance?
9. Women in science: A temporary liberation
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



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1. All Sparks Are Good Sparks
From:   Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I ran across a Scientific American web article from 2012 that had nice graphs relevant to CSWA ... my favorite type of information!  The piece was about different types of experiences that spark the interest of women and men in science and tech fields.  The results were based on a survey that Dr. Adam Maltese (Indiana U.) and Scientific American took of men and women at various universities pursuing STEM fields.  The results showed interesting differences in motivating factors.

Read about those motivating factors at 


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2. Report from 5th International Conference on Women in Physics
From:   Ed Bertschinger via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Fifth International Conference on Women in Physics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, as part of the US delegation.  The conferences have been held every three years starting in Paris in 2002, followed by Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and Stellenbosch (South Africa).  The most recent conference attracted about 250 attendees (more than 95% women) from over 50 countries.  It was my first time attending the series although not my first time attending a conference on women in physics or astronomy.  The bottom line is that this was a wonderful experience that gave me many new ideas, friendships, and connections that will help me advance gender equity in physics and related fields.

Continue reading about the conference at 


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3. Career Profiles: Astronomer to President of a Defense Industry Company
From: Laura Trouille via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of career trajectories available to astronomers. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.

Below is our interview with Eric Rubenstein, an astronomer turned President and Chief Technology Officer for Image Insight Inc., a company he created which develops software products for radiation detection. He left academia at age 37 to work in private industry. Along the way he developed an astronomy-based procedure to detect ionizing radiation threats and began to build first the technology then the business. 

To read the interview with Eric Rubenstein, please see 

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2014/08/career-profiles-astronomer-to-president.html

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4. AAS/DPS Astronomy Ambassadors Outreach Workshop
From:   Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]

Graduate students, postdocs, and early-career faculty and research scientists are invited to apply for an upcoming workshop providing training and resources for effective outreach to K-12 teachers and students, families, and the public. The workshop, based on the popular and successful AAS Astronomy Ambassadors program, will be offered all day Sunday, 9 November, at the 46th annual AAS Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting in Tucson, Arizona (http://aas.org/meetings/dps46).

Participants will be introduced to discussion and questioning strategies, ways to avoid technical jargon, specific hands-on activities usable in a variety of settings, and ways of finding outreach partners in their own communities. They will also receive a set of written and electronic resources.

The number of participants is limited. To apply, please complete the workshop application by Wednesday, 27 August.

More information about the workshop can be found at 

http://aas.org/meetings/dps46/aasdps-astronomy-ambassadors-workshop

The application can be found at

http://aas.org/content/dps-46-astronomy-ambassadors-workshop-application

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5. Top Math Prize Has Its First Female Winner
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor at Stanford, was one of just four winners – and the first female ever – to receive the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics. She was honored for her advances in understanding the behavior of dynamical systems.

Says Dr. Mirzakhani’s doctoral thesis advisor, “I…see it as a sign of positive trends in society and in science.”

Read the New York Times article about Dr. Mirzahkani’s work and award at 

http://tinyurl.com/q63rqqo 

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6. Should Women "Man Up" for Male-dominated Fields?
From: Tim Gillette [tim.gillette_at_wilx.com]

In a study published in the research journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, authors Jennifer Wessel, Nao Hagiwara, Ann Marie Ryan and Christine Kermond “suggest that applicants’ decisions concerning how to manage their gender presentation can influence how they are evaluated and that women seeking entry into traditionally masculine occupations may want to describe themselves in agentic terms and avoid acknowledging their gender.”

Read the press release at

http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/should-women-man-up-for-male-dominated-fields/ 

Read the journal article at

http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/07/25/0361684314543265.full 

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7. How "The Big Bang Theory" Represents Women in Science
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

I’ll admit it. I enjoy watching “The Big Bang Theory”, even though all of the characters portray caricatured stereotypes of scientists.  The men, Raj (the astronomer), Howard (the aerospace engineer), Leonard (the experimental physicist) and Sheldon (the theoretical physicist), are mostly awkward in every social setting, while the women, Bernadette (the microbiologist) has a voice that can be described as “irritating” and Amy (the neuroscientist) is dowdy.  Oh, and then there’s Penny, the beautiful blonde actress wannabe who finds these “nerds” endearing.

Obviously, I’m not the only one to notice how these characters represent scientists (and non-scientists).  In an on-line article, AK Whitney offers her own thoughts on whether or not this TV show is good or bad for STEM.

Read the article at

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/how-the-big-bang-theory-got-good-women-in-science-stem

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8. Why are the media so obsessed with female scientists' appearance?
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

“The professor of synaptic pharmacology at Oxford has long, youthfully blond hair and is dressed in an above-knee pink dress and cream wedges…”

So states a published interview with Dr. Susan Greenfield, a professor of synaptic pharmacology at Oxford, who is working to find a cure for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.  Alice Bell comments on this interview and references a 2010 paper in the journal Public Understanding of Science that reported on “an analysis of 51 interviews with scientists, complemented by research into female scientists’ own experiences of working with the media, as well as journalists and communication professionals.”

Read more from Alice Bell at


Read the journal article at


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9. Women in science: A temporary liberation
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

This month, world leaders in Europe commemorated the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. During this time, women worked in laboratories and factories in unprecedented numbers. After the war ended, however, “it was almost universally assumed that female workers should give up their jobs and slip back into their previous roles as wives and mothers. Only much later did the authorities recognize the twin follies of converting highly educated men into cannon fodder and of failing to deploy female brains effectively."

“Much later, in emerging fields such as genetics and X-ray crystallography, a few men — including William Bateson and William Lawrence Bragg — welcomed women to their teams. Perhaps they recognized that those who had reached such an advanced level must be of an exceptionally high calibre and could be employed more cheaply than men to carry out the same work."

Read more about these pioneering women at


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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_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: 

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12. Access to Past Issues

http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html  

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.