Friday, October 30, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for October 30, 2015


AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 30, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, Elysse Voyer, & Heather Flewelling

[This week's AASWOMEN guest editor is Mike Boylan-Kolchin. Mike is an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on near-field cosmology, galaxy formation theory, and numerical simulations of cosmological structure formation.]

This week's issues:

1. Making Our Workplace a Place of... Work

2. Finding the Face of Genius

3. Taking the Long View on Sexism in Science

4. Famous Astronomer Accused Of Sexual Harassment At His Previous Job, Too

5. Zero tolerance. Period

6. A New Twist in the Fight Against Sexism in Science

7. AIP Statistical Research Center's "Physics Trends"

8. Facts, Instinct, and Gender: A Recent Case Study in the Media

9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter


1. Making Our Workplace a Place of... Work
From: David Charbonneau via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I have been thinking recently on how different my perception of my workplace is from the on experienced by many of my junior colleagues who are women.

For myself and (I think) most of my senior male colleagues, the Observatory is exclusively a place of work. I type on my computer. I discuss ideas with colleagues. I participate in committees. I attend seminars. OK, that's sounding awfully dry! But of course it isn't dry at all: Many of my colleagues are also friends, and over coffee, lunches, and hallway conversations, I take joy in their company as we work together on astronomy and the general educational mission of an academic department.

However, for many of the junior women in our department, I worry that the Observatory isn't just a place of work.

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/10/making-our-workplace-place-of-work.html

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2. Finding the Face of Genius
From: Joan Schmelz and Bala Poduval via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Genius, as it is expected to be the trait of ... promising scientists, does not imply being extraordinary in just one particular attribute but a unique and rare combination of many different qualities -- diligence, purposefulness, relentlessness, methodicalness, curiosity, open-mindedness, imagination, attentiveness -- that happens one in a million or so. Genius may not only require extraordinary intelligence, but exceptional creativity/imagination and perseverance as well.

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.ca/2015/10/finding-face-of-genius.html

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3. Taking the Long View on Sexism in Science
From: James Lowenthal [jlowenth_at_smith.edu]

by Pat Shipman

My first lesson in the harmful power of sexual innuendo and stereotype was when I was a new PhD in the late 1970s. I wrote a manuscript for a book based on my thesis, an analysis of fossil animals in Kenya. A major academic publisher turned it down because it was "too controversial." Stunned that this analysis could be seen as controversial, I pressed the editor for specifics. Eventually, he admitted that one reviewer had said that I could only have been awarded a PhD if I had slept with my committee.

To read more, please see

http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/taking-the-long-view-on-sexism-in-science/99999

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4. Famous Astronomer Accused Of Sexual Harassment At His Previous Job, Too
From: Lynda Williams [lyndalovon_at_gmail.com]

by Azeen Ghorayshi

Last week, astronomer Geoff Marcy was pressured into resigning from the University of California at Berkeley because of a record of sexual harassment. Now three women from his prior posting at San Francisco State University say he sexually harassed students there as well.

To read more, please see

http://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/geoff-marcy-at-sfsu

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5. Zero tolerance. Period
From: Mike Boylan-Kolchin [mbk_at_astro.as.utexas.edu]

By Bernard Wood

Earlier this month, famed astronomer Geoff Marcy's sexual harassment of female students was exposed. He has since resigned from the University of California, Berkeley, in the face of concerted pressure from peers and students. It is unconscionable for someone to use academic power to be a sexual predator, but the reality is that Marcy operated in an academic culture that turned a blind eye to such behavior.

To read more, please see

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6260/487.full

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6. A New Twist in the Fight Against Sexism in Science
From: Mike Boylan-Kolchin [mbk_at_astro.as.utexas.edu]

by Sarah Zhang

The past year has seen a steady drumbeat of stories illustrating, yet again, how science as a field and profession remains unwelcoming to women. A Rosetta space probe scientist appears on TV wearing a shirt covered in pictures of scantily clad women. A Nobel laureate says female scientists in labs are distracting. An advice columnist for a career site run by the prestigious journal Science tells a woman to "put up" with her adviser staring down her shirt. And now, a famous Berkeley astronomer has been allegedly sexually harassing students for years.

This kind of thing, unfortunately, isn't new. What’s remarkable is what happened after each of these events occurred, when the hashtags trended and the voices clamored: The people responsible were held accountable for their actions.

To read more, please see

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/the-year-we-really-started-caring-about-sexism-in-science

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7. AIP Statistical Research Center's "Physics Trends"
From: Kevin Marvel [kevin.marvel_at_aas.org]

The AIP Statistical Research Center has published the Fall 2015 Physics Trends flyers. These printable flyers are suitable for display on bulletin boards.

The fall 2015 set of flyers:

1) Where physics bachelor’s work [sic] 2) Skills used by PhD physicists in the private sector 3) Women among physics faculty

Also of note: Hispanics among Bachelor's Degrees (November 2014)

You can find the Fall 2015 and older flyers here:

https://www.aip.org/statistics/physics-trends?dm_i=21LG,3RQE2,L82WGV,DKUBA,1

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8. Facts, Instinct, and Gender: A Recent Case Study in the Media
From: Mike Boylan-Kolchin [mbk_at_astro.as.utexas.edu]

[The following two articles pertain to perceptions of women and rationality in science and the media. They do not reflect the beliefs of the AASWOMEN editors or today's guest editor. -eds.]

by Chris Johnston

Women are far less likely than men to support fracking because they rely more on feel and gut reaction than facts, according to the woman representing the UK shale gas industry.

Averil Macdonald, who was appointed chair of UK Onshore Oil and Gas this week, said that giving women more information about the controversial practice would not change their minds.

"Women, for whatever reason, have not been persuaded by the facts. More facts are not going to make any difference," the professor of science engagement at Reading University told the Times. "What we have got to do is understand the gut reaction, the feel. The dialogue is more important than the dissemination of facts."

To read more, please see

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/23/women-less-likely-than-men-to-support-fracking-due-to-instinct

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11950439/Fracking-science-too-hard-for-women-to-understand.-Really-professor.html

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9. 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

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10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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11. Access to Past Issues

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

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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