Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 14:36:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: AASWOMEN for December 13, 2002

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Weekly issue of Dec. 13, 2002, eds. Meg Urry, Patricia Knezek, 
& Michael Rupen

This week's issues:

1. Proposed Letter to Education Secretary Rodney Paige
2. Article on a NASA scientist's view of why some women quit science careers  
3. Found in a toy store
4. AAS Second Century Public Lecture Series
5. AAAS Public Policy Opportunities
6. National Academy News: Shirley M. Malcom to Recieve Public Welfare Medal
7. The 3rd National Postdoc Network Meeting, Berkeley, CA
8. Rochester's Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
9. New Biography of Rosalind Franklin

1. Proposed Letter to Education Secretary Rodney Paige

>From the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics:


This message was received from Jong-on Hahm, NAS: Attached is a proposed 
letter to Education Secretary Rodney Paige about Title IX and the sciences 
and engineering. Rachana Bhowmik in Senator Wyden's office has been collecting 
electronic signatures. If you or members of your organization want to sign the 
letter, send an e-mail by December to 
Please include your name, title, and institutional affiliation. The suggested 
letter appears below:

December __, 2002
The Honorable Rod Paige
Secretary of Education
U. S. Department of Education
FB6, Room 7W301
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Secretary Paige:
We are writing as a group of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers 
concerned by the persistent under-representation of women in the important 
fields of math, engineering and the hard sciences. Now more than ever, our 
nation will rely upon the expertise of our professions to ensure our nation's 
security and economic prosperity. Unfortunately, we cannot meet these goals 
so long as the talent of one-half of our population is not being fully
utilized in these fields. Statistics indicate that women are grossly
under-represented in the fields of science, math, and engineering.  The 
National Science Foundation reports that in 1999, women made up only 23 
percent of physical scientists and 10 percent of engineers. The number of 
women on our nation's faculties is even lower: only 14 percent of our 
nation's science faculties are women and only 6 percent of our nation's 
engineering faculties are women.  Significantly, the National Science 
Foundation found that the number of women graduating with bachelor's degrees 
in computer and information sciences, which reached a high of 37 percent in
1984, dropped to 28 percent in the 1999 school year.

As Secretary of Education, you have been entrusted with the authority to 
oversee the implementation of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 
(Title IX) in our nation's classrooms. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination 
in all aspects of federally funded education programs and has brought about 
great changes for women in American higher education institutions. As a 
result of Title IX, girls and women flocked to sports in unprecedented 
numbers, and high schools and colleges formed tens of thousands of teams to 
accommodate them. Before Title IX, one in 17 high school girls played team 
sports - now it is one in 2.5.  While Title IX is best known for opening the 
doors of opportunity for women and girls in athletics, it is not limited to 
athletics. Title IX applies to any education program or activity receiving 
federal financial assistance. Accordingly, Title IX applies to science
education in our nation's high schools and higher educational institutions.

The Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Education has the mandate 
to enforce Title IX. We implore you to make certain that the disparities we 
see in the numbers of women and men in our nation's institutions of science 
education are not the result of violations of Title IX law.

Respectfully submitted,

2. Article on a NASA scientist's view of why some women quit science careers  
From: Andrea Schweitzer

An article of interest:

NASA Scientist to Discuss Why Some Women Quit Science Careers

Andrea Schweitzer
Little Thompson Observatory
(and chair of the AAS Employment Committee)

3. Found in a toy store
From: Luisa Rebull

Hello -

While shopping at Toys R Us today, I found some "Kelly Club" (part of the 
Barbie series) dolls who were astronomers!  OK, so, they were labeled "star 
gazers" in the "Lots of Secrets Clubhouse" series (as opposed to the 
"Careers" series, which included "beauty queen" as an option), and they were 
wearing pajamas (at least not a lab coat), but they were GIRLS, one Caucasian 
and one African-American.  Both of the dolls came with doll-size telescopes. 
Perhaps this is a modicum of progress! :)


Dr. Luisa Rebull Staff Scientist, SIRTF Science Center
Caltech M/S 220-6 voice 626-395-4565
1200 E. California Blvd. FAX 626-583-9046
Pasadena, CA 91125

4. AAS Second Century Public Lecture Series
From: Neta Bahcall netaastro.Princeton.EDU

I enclose below a notice that may provide an opportunity for interested 
colleagues to participate in an important outreach activity of the AAS -- 
organizing and hosting a public AAS Century Lecture at their home institution 
or at another local institution.  The AAS Century Lectures help inform the 
public about the exciting developments in our field. I would like to 
encourage women astronomers to host a Century Lecture. If you are interested, 
please let me know.  The list of current AAS lecturers is posted in the AAS 
website listed below.

I would also like to hear your suggestions regarding new venues for the 
lectures and exciting new topics to be covered.  Any other suggestions are 
of course welcome!

I look forward to hearing from you.

         Would You Like To Host An AAS Second Century Lecture?

           Neta A. Bahcall, Chair, AAS Second Century Lectures

The AAS Council established a public lecture series to commemorate the second 
century of the society and to bring the fascinating developments in astronomy 
to the attention of a large public. In the three years since its inception in 
2000, the AAS Second Century Lecture Series has been a great success. 
Typically four Public Lectures are scheduled per year, at sites that include 
science museums, planetaria, convention centers, colleges and universities. 
Thousands of people have enjoyed these lectures and come away enthusiastic 
about astronomy as well as stronger supporters of basic research in our field.
You can find a list of previous AAS Second Century Lectures at

I would like to encourage you to host one of these exciting talks at your home 
institution or at another institution in your geographical area.  The century 
lectures are given by some of our most outstanding scientists and lecturers 
and provide an opportunity to make the public aware of the enormous progress 
that is being made in astronomy. A list of the thirty current Second Century 
Lecturers is posted on the above AAS Web site.  Previous lectures have covered 
such diverse topics as the discovery of extra-solar planets, a deeper 
knowledge of ordinary stars, the mysteries of black holes, orbiting pulsars 
and GR, dark matter, gravitational waves, and the beginning, expansion, and 
future of the universe.  The AAS supports advertisement for the lectures and 
some local expenses if needed, as well as travel expenses for the lecturer. 
The local host is responsible for making the local arrangements.

Would you like to host an AAS Second Century Lecture? If so, please contact me 
at (or Neta Bahcall, Astronomy Dept., Princeton 
University). Also, if you have a suggestion about a particularly exciting 
topic, or a particularly good venue for a lecture, please let me know. This 
lecture series is one way we can let the public know how much fun astronomy 
can be for everyone.

5. AAAS Public Policy Opportunities

>From WIPHYS 11 Dec. 02

The application deadline for the AAAS Science and Technology Policy 
Fellowship Programs is less than a month away (January 10, 2003). These nine 
programs, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of 
Science, provide unique one-year opportunities for scientists and engineers 
to contribute scientific and technical information and external perspectives 
to federal decision-making in Washington, DC, while learning how government 
works. Fellows serve either in the Congress or in one of a dozen executive 
branch agencies.

The AAAS fellowship programs may lead to long-term careers in science policy 
or broaden the experience of Fellows in currently existing career paths. For 
more information and application instructions, call 202/326-6700, e-mail, or visit our Web site at

6. National Academy News: Shirley M. Malcom to Recieve Public Welfare Medal
From: Crystal M. Tinch

[Eds. note:  To read the complete article, please access the National
Academies website: HTTP://NATIONAL-ACADEMIES.ORG ]

Date: Dec. 11, 2002
Contact: Christian Dobbins, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
(202) 334-2138; e-mail



WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences has selected Shirley M.
Malcom to receive the academy's most prestigious award, the Public Welfare 
Medal.  Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor 
extraordinary use of science for the public good. Malcom has spent nearly 
30 years working both at the grass-roots level and internationally to improve 
science and technology education and participation by students of diverse 

"Dr. Malcom has served science with extraordinary scope, originality, and
achievement," said R. Stephen Berry, home secretary of the National Academy
of Sciences and chair of the selection committee. "With each young mind that
experiences the value of science through science education, there is a new
chance that the world will see the next Pasteur, Salk, or Einstein. Dr.
Malcom has helped bring science to millions of students who otherwise might 
not have had the opportunity."

As head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Malcom has had a unique
impact on advancing public understanding of science and technology, and
increasing the participation of women, minorities, and people with
disabilities in these areas.

The Public Welfare Medal, consisting of a medal and an illuminated scroll,
will be presented to Malcom during the NAS annual meeting in April. The 
National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that 
provides science advice under a congressional charter.

7. The 3rd National Postdoc Network Meeting, Berkeley, CA

>From WIPHYS 11 Dec. 02

[Eds. note: The "dire condition of postdocs" referred to in the article
below concerns primarily postdocs in the biological sciences and the
humanities, where pay is typically 2/3 or less than that of postdocs in the
physical sciences.  However, we felt that this meeting might be of interest
to some, and should be advertised.]

several national reports, from the CPST Postdocs and Career Prospects Status 
Report (1997) to the AAU Committee on Postdoctoral Education Report (1998), 
the National Academies' COSEPUP Guide for Postdocs (2000), and the NRC 
National Needs Report (2000), have clearly elucidated the dire circumstances 
of postdocs in the research enterprise. Many studies have also offered 
suggestions for policies and programs aimed at improving the postdoctoral 
experience. However, a number of questions remain open: Are conditions 
improving? What are other institutions doing? How can I implement change at 
my institution?

With this in mind, the Postdoc Network is organizing a third national meeting 
to discuss postdoctoral policies and programs. We invite postdocs, principal 
investigators, mentors, research administrators, disciplinary societies, 
postdoc office administrators, funding agencies, and policymakers to attend. 
Speakers represent a cross section of the postdoc policy stakeholder arena, 
from professional society representatives, postdoc leaders, and
administrators, to education and policy leaders. 

National efforts at postdoc policy reform will be the focus of the first day 
of the meeting. On the second day, the University of California system will 
serve as a case study, through which we will examine ongoing efforts to 
change institutional policies affecting postdocs. In addition to policy 
discussions, we will offer a two-part workshop on leadership and teambuilding 

M. R. C. Greenwood will deliver the keynote address. A renowned scientist 
and chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Greenwood is also 
chair of the NRC Office of Science and Engineering Policy Advisory Board, 
serves on the board of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, served as a board member 
of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, 
and was an associate director for science at the U.S. Office of Science and
Technology Policy. 

The program will be finalized in January 2003. For more information, please 
see the agenda posted at
or contact 

8. Rochester's Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
From: Connie Jones

[Eds. note:  Information about many REU opportunities can be found on a
new AAS Education site. Go to, then click on
"Research Opportunities".  Check this site frequently, as information on
different programs is still be added.]

Research Experience for Undergraduates
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
June 2 - August 8, 2003

> Students participate in active research with groups in:
> Astronomy and Astrophysics
> Biological and Medical Physics
> Condensed Matter and Applied Physics
> High Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics
> Quantum Optics and Optical Science
> Physics Education Research

> Mini courses in electronics and machine shop practice and informal
seminars each week on research topics, preparing for graduate school, and
other science related issues

> Tours of research laboratories; outings to explore the Rochester area

> End of summer symposium at which participants make brief presentations
of their research projects

> Opportunities to continue research toward publication in professional
journals and/or presentation of results at national conferences during the
following academic year

The stipend for the ten weeks is $3100. Housing is provided on campus. 
Women and members of underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. 
Most applicants will have completed at least 4 semesters of college
physics and will have completed their sophomore or junior year by June,
2003. All applicants must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

Further details, including application form and descriptions of previous
years' projects may be found on the www:


Connie Jones email:
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy phone: (585) 275-5306
Wilson Blvd., B&L Bldg. fax: (585) 275-8527
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0171 USA

9. New Biography of Rosalind Franklin
From: Suchitra Balachandran

Readers may be interested in a new biography of Rosalind Franklin whose 
contribution to the discovery of the double-helical structure of the DNA
was never adequately acknowledged. A review of the biography:

"Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA" by Brenda Maddox 

is in the December issue of Scientific American.

Suchitra Balachandran