Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 13:22:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CSWA Newsletter of 6/30/99

            AAS Committee on the Status of Women
     weekly issues of  6/30/99, ed. by Priscilla Benson
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This week's issues:

1. Women speakers at meetings
2. Stellafane update

1. Women speakers at meetings
From: (Meg Urry)

We talked about collecting (and broadcasting) scientific 
programs of astronomy conferences, to see whether women are 
fairly represented among the invited speakers. I just saw 
the near-final program for the upcoming ESO meeting on Black 
Holes (6-8 September), in honor of Riccardo Giacconi. By the 
way, Riccardo has been a strong supporter of women in 
astronomy. So how does this conference stack up? The posted 
names give only initials, and I don't know everyone, so here 
is my incomplete count:
  Organizing committee: 13 people = 10 men + 3 people I 
don't know
  Invited Reviews: 14 men
  Invited Talks: 22 people =  14 men + 1 woman + 7 I don't 
  Workshop Summary: 1 man
The total of 50 invited speakers therefore includes 39 men 
and 1 woman among the names I know. (Perhaps someone can do 
better? Look at 

I'd like to see more programs appear on AASWOMEN, so we 
could keep a running tally, and get some global statistics. 
For any one meeting, one can always explain why certain 
people were invited in favor of others. The question of 
whether women are systematically underrepresented as invited 
speakers can only be answered with data from a broad array 
of conferences. This is a very important question, by the 
way, since this kind of honor affects promotion and tenure 
decisions both directly (on the resume) and indirectly (via 
the consequent exposure of the speaker in the community). If 
you agree, will you please send your conference tally to 

Meg Urry

2. Stellafane update
From: Maryann Arrien

Note:  The editor has shortened this contribution.  

Tuesday night at the Town meeting in Springfield, Vermont 
several members of the Springfield Telescope Makers spoke on 
behalf of the endangered Stellafane Observatory, site of the 
world famous Porter Turret Observatory and the Stellafane 
Conventions which have been held over the last 75 years.

The townspeople listened with interest and sympathy to the 
concerns of the Stellafane organizers, who maintain that the 
proposed prison would still do severe harm to the night sky 
at a distance of just several miles. Holding streams of e-
mail sent by the astronomical community around the world, I 
read various excerpts from the writings of Stellafane 
attendees who have patronized the surrounding businesses in 
Springfield and the rest of Vermont. The distant origins of 
some of the e-mail gave particular credence to our case, as 
well as their notability as scientific institutions.  In 
particular, horror stories of other observatories being 
impaired by distances of 20 or 30 miles pointed up the 
problem at hand of a prison in the neighborhood of 4 miles 
from Breezy Hill.

The State Engineer, Jim Richardson, was aghast at the e-mail 
he received and admitted that he didn't know what Stellafane 
was, so he looked it up.  He seemed to be quite relieved 
that it was actually 4 miles instead of 3.  He also seemed 
to think that since Breezy Hill was higher in elevation, 
that simple geometrical difference would make it all no 

The e-mail PETITION and letter writing campaigns at have brought the concerns of Stellafane to 
the forefront with the most incredible speed and intensity 
imaginable.  My perception is that the Town has thankfully 
become aware of the seriousness of our problem.  As they 
weigh the negative effect to us along with their many other 
varied issues and concerns, it is hoped that the Town of 
Springfield will choose its heritage and future to be 
preserved by protecting Stellafane from the unwitting damage 
that will be caused by those Vermont State agencies that 
never noticed they had a revered National Historic Landmark 
and Observatory right there in Vermont where they want to 
build this prison.

End of CSWA Newsletter of 6/30/99.  Next letter 7/14/99