Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 21:09:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: AASWOMEN for September 21, 2001

	AAS Committee on the Status of Women
    Weekly issue of 9/21/2001, ed. by Meg Urry and Patricia Knezek

This week's issues:
1. Deadline for nominating people for AAS awards is Oct. 1
2. Discussion topic: deafness to women's voices/ideas 
3. Article on political asylum for women
4. Historical Women in Physics
5. Back issues of Women in Astronomy Proceedings available
6. JILA Visiting Fellowships
7. AASWOMEN Policy on Job Ads
8. Job: California State University, Chico 
9. Job: Tenure-Track Asst. Professor, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy,
   Ursinus College

1. Deadline for nominating people for AAS awards is Oct. 1

From: Meg Urry (

The deadline for nominations for many of the AAS prizes
is coming very soon, October 1. Prizes include science awards 
at all career levels, divisional awards, an education prize,
a service award, and a new instrumentation award. 
Details are on the web site 

Members of prize committees tell us they get relatively
few nominations. Please consider nominating your deserving
colleagues, and particularly consider nominating women, who
receive a disproportionately small share of the AAS prizes
(STATUS June 2000, at

2. Discussion topic: deafness to women's voices/ideas 

From: You-Hua Chu (

Gender inequality in credibility?

When I was a graduate student some 20 years ago, a fellow
graduate student Jean used to complain that she was not
taken as seriously as the male graduate students. For 
example, a professor would ignore what she said but would
turn around and praise the idea when a male graduate student
repeated what she said. Throughout my career, I have felt
lucky that I did not have Jean's experience until recently.

I had a scientific discussion with a contemporary male 
astronomer on a topic that I had been working on for over
20 years, but was new to him. I told him what I knew about
wind-ISM interaction. Two days later, after he called a
younger male collaborator of mine, he turned around and told
me what I had told him earlier. Has this male astronomer
lost his short-term memory or did he not trust what I said?

Now, I have two questions for the readers of the AASWOMEN

(1) How many of you have experienced a gender inequality in 
    credibility?  Please share your experience.
(2) What do you do to fight back?  Please give us suggestions.

3. Article on political asylum for women

From: Pat Knezek (

I read this article in the Sept. 10, 2001 by
Anna Quindlen. Check it out -- I thought it was
worth bringing to the attention of AASWOMEN because
it certainly opened MY eyes.

4. Historical Women in Physics

From: Meg Urry (

From the September 09, 2001, Sunday, Final Edition of the 
Washington Times, an interesting letter on the history
of women in physics:

HEADLINE: A woman's place is in the lab

      In a Commentary article this summer, Balint Vazsonyi, a 
frequent contributor to The Washington Times, argued that "all 
great music was composed by men and all great conductors have 
been men."

      Since he is a concert pianist, he is certainly entitled 
to express this view, although he does not attempt to explain 
it in any detail. It is when he starts making similar claims 
in other fields that he gets off base.

      As to his literary examples, one could cite George Eliot 
and Sigrid Undset as at least equals to Jane Austin, if not 
arguably superior. And undoubtedly Margaret Mitchell ranks at 
the top in income and royalties from her book. It is in the 
field of science where he really goes astray.

      Marie Curie, twice a Nobel Laureate, is cited by Mr. 
Vazsonyi as being "light years" ahead of any other women, in 
fact the "sole great".

      This is simply wrong. Madame Curie shared the first prize 
with her husband, Pierre. Her work was characterized by powerful 
intuitive insights, and the ability to work exceptionally hard 
to bring these insights to fruition. Her contributions were 
really important in the development of modern physics.

      However, Maria Goeppert Mayer's work is brilliant and 
probably as important. Her 1948 paper on the shell structure 
of the atomic nucleus ranks as one of the top papers in the 
field. She did this Nobel Prize-winning work as a wife and mother 
in a low-level academic position. But now her Ph.D. thesis has 
come to light. It dealt, in 1930, with certain optical phenomena 
only observed many years later - in 1961. Her thesis is now 
recognized as the precursor of modern nonlinear optics, and is 
now being referenced as the basis for two photon electron microscopy, 
a recent very exciting development which makes possible in vivo 
imaging of human skin, for example. Timing - being too far ahead 
of her time, having done this work very early in her career - 
contributed to a previous lack of recognition for this great 

      Lise Meitner was the discoverer of nuclear fission. 
She worked with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, and was the 
intellectual driving force behind their work on the subject. 
In 1940, she was forced to leave Germany. None of her previous 
colleagues did much to help her, and she could not find much 
support in Sweden.  Others took credit for much of her work, 
and her name was even left off a memorial at the site of her 
discoveries. This was eventually corrected and a major street 
in Berlin is named after her. Now whenever high school chemistry 
students anywhere in the world pull down their periodic chart 
of the elements they will see the element Meitnerium listed. 
Miss Meitner never won the Nobel Prize in her field - but she 
deserved it as much as those who did.

      Finally, the discoverer of DNA's double helix structure 
was not Francis Crick or James Watson but Rosalind Franklin. 
Her early death at the age of 37 precluded her sharing the Nobel 
Prize with Mr. Watson and Mr. Crick. Mr. Watson's book "The 
Double Helix" is viewed by some as being personally demeaning 
to Miss Franklin. She received little credit for her work until 
after her death, when her laboratory notes became available. 
From reading her biography, it is clear she was probably the 
world's finest structural crystallographer of her day. One of 
her most spectacular accomplishments was the determination of 
the molecular structure of the tobacco mosaic virus - a first 
for any virus. No one of her circle of associates doubted she 
would have eventually won the Nobel Prize.

      So, contrary to Mr. Vazsonyi's assertions, Marie Curie was 
not light years ahead of any other woman scientist. There are 
at least three examples to the contrary - and there are probably 

      Perhaps Mr. Vazsonyi might heed the observation of a 
conservative fellow Hungarian, Edward Teller. Dr. Teller once 
said "Women can do anything as well as men - except play chess. 
There are some things they can do better."

      R. N. Keeler
      McLean, Va.

Dr. Keeler was head of the physics department of the Livermore 
Laboratory, 1971-75, and was the director of Naval Technology, 
1975-78, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

5. Back issues of Women in Astronomy Proceedings available

From: Meg Urry (

STScI plans to remove from storage a number of back issues 
of the proceedings of the 1992 Conference on Women in Astronomy 
(eds. Urry, Danly, Sherbert, Gonzaga). It contains many interesting 
articles on women in science generally (Tobias, Schiebinger, 
Grant, Billard), as well as specific discussions of astronomy 
(including a very funny after-dinner talk by Kinney).

It's available online, actually (see
but if you would like a hardcopy, please email your name and mailing
address to or . We are 
particularly interested in giving away copies that will see
a broad distribution (e.g., in a departmental library).

6. JILA Visiting Fellowships

From: Ellen Zweibel (

Senior (typically tenured) astronomers/astrophysicists contemplating a
sabbatical or extended leave are encouraged to consider the JILA
Visiting Fellowship Program. Visiting Fellows are resident at JILA,
located on the University of Colorado, Boulder campus for a couple of
months to a year, have the use of JILA/CU facilities, and substantial
financial salary support. The current permanent group of JILA Fellows in
astrophysics consists of Drs. Phil Armitage (as of 01/02), Mitch
Begelman, Andrew Hamilton, Jeff Linsky, Dick McCray, Juri Toomre, and
Ellen Zweibel. Applications for the 02-03 academic year are due November

Applications and more information may be found at

7. AASWOMEN Policy on Job Ads

A few people have complained about job ads being posted 
in AASWOMEN, either suggesting they be eliminated or that
they be limited to the URL for the position description.
These correspondents are correct that the information is 
generally available elsewhere (e.g., the AAS Job Register), 
and we do understand their irritation with over-long emails.

Nonetheless, we consider a major function of AASWOMEN (and of 
the CSWA, under whose auspices it is published) to be enabling
the hiring of more women into astronomy positions. Employers
often ask, How can this position be brought to the attention of
women applicants? To which we reply, By submitting the job ad 
to AASWOMEN! We encourage employers to submit job ads because
we believe the widest dissemination will yield the widest
applicant pool. We also believe readers looking for jobs are 
encouraged to apply when they see a particular job ad listed in 
AASWOMEN. Many employers do not bother listing in AASWOMEN, 
so those who do have obviously given some thought to the issue 
of hiring women -- a positive sign!

In the interests of not annoying other readers unduly, we
do shorten many ads, referring the reader to a URL or contact
person for more details. We also run the job ads at the 
end of each issue, so they can be ignored more easily by 
those who wish to do so. We hope this policy is an acceptable 
compromise that minimizes unhappiness among our readers. 
We welcome further comments on this issue.

Meg Urry & Pat Knezek

8. Job: California State University, Chico 

California State University, Chico is committed to policies of equal
employment opportunity in its recruitment and hiring practices. 

As a university that educates students of various ethnic and cultural
backgrounds, we value a diverse faculty and staff. CSU, Chico welcomes
applicants who are knowledgeable about and interested in working within a
cross-cultural learning environment.

We are trying to fill the position of Assistant Professor with 
expertise in Undergraduate Research in the Department of 
Physics for Fall 2002. Further information is available at . Candidates with the academic training 
and experience consistent with our needs are encouraged to apply.

Applications should be directed to the Chair of the Search 
Committee, Department of Physics, CSU, Chico, Chico CA 95929-0202. 
Review of applications begins January 7th, 2002. 

Dr. David Kagan (
Chair - Department of Physics
California State University, Chico

9. Job: Tenure-Track Asst. Professor, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy,
Ursinus College

Ursinus College invites applications for a tenure-track assistant
professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, beginning
Fall 2002. Ph.D. required. We seek a physicist with a strong
commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching in a liberal
arts setting, who will establish an ongoing program of scholarly
research involving undergraduate students; startup funds are
available. Teaching responsibilities will include introductory and
advanced physics courses and laboratories, as well as
interdisciplinary courses such as the College's Liberal Studies
Seminar for first-year students. 

Ursinus College is a highly selective, independent, co-educational
residential liberal arts college of 1350 students located about 25
miles northwest of center city Philadelphia. The College
emphasizes student achievement and strongly supports student-
faculty research collaborations.  Recently renovated teaching and
research facilities in physics, chemistry, mathematics/computer
science, and biology are outstanding. The College has been
successful in obtaining grant support from NIH, NSF, HHMI, and
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.  Send letter of
interest, with statements of teaching philosophy and research plans,
vitae, graduate and undergraduate transcripts, and three letters of
recommendation to: 

Dr. Martha Takats
Chair, Search Committee
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Ursinus College
Collegeville, PA 19426-1000. 

Inquiries can be directed to . Review of completed 
applications will begin immediately and continue until the position 
is filled. Ursinus College is an EO/AA employer. In keeping with the 
college's historic commitment to equality, women and minorities are 
especially encouraged to apply.