Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 07:39:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: AASWOMEN for December 26, 2003 and January 2, 2004

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Weekly issue of December 26, 2003 & January 2, 2004
eds. Patricia Knezek & Michael Rupen

This week's issues:
1. CSWA session at Atlanta AAS Meeting, Thursday, January 8, 1-2pm
2. Discussion of family & tenure [continued]
3. Postdoc/Research Fellow at the Australian National University
4. Gamma-Ray Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
5. Head of Observatory Science Software and Data Management, NRAO

1. CSWA session at Atlanta AAS Meeting, Thursday, January 8, 1-2pm
From: Michael Rupen

You are all invited to attend the CSWA session at the AAS meeting in Atlanta
this week, from 1-2pm on Thursday, January 8, in Regency V.  The main topic
will be the results of the Women in Astronomy II meeting.  We look forward
to seeing you there!

2. Discussion of family & tenure [continued]
  [More in the on-going discussion started by a letter in the December 9
  WIPHYS asking for ideas on how postdocs in physics might be made more 
  accommodating to women, and especially to women with children. -- Eds.]

From: Kris Sellgren

This is in support of a posting by Prof. A. Peet and in response to a 
posting by Prof. E. Simmons.  In short, A. Peet argued that non-parents
could have committments in their personal life which are just as
time-consuming as parenthood, and the discussion should be about
work life vs. personal life.  E. Simmons responded that more research
exists on the effect of parenthood on careers, and it is essentially
impossible to keep the fact that you have children secret from your
colleagues, so the discussion is more usefully focussed on the
effect of kids on your career.

Astronomers with heavy burdens in their personal lives, not related
to child-rearing, are in a *tougher* situation than parents.  At 
least there is public awareness of childcare issues, tenure "stop
the clock" programs, etc.  Women used to be automatically fired for 
being pregnant, but decades of education and social reform have made
that overt discrimination go underground. That discrimination has 
become trickier to characterize and fight, and it's still there, but 
at least the issue is out in the open and solutions being discussed.
But something that is *not* as obvious as having children -- such as 
eldercare, a very messy divorce, a personal health problem that you 
are not comfortable sharing with your colleagues, a serious health 
problem with your same-sex partner when you are not "out" in your 
department -- all of these can have just as strong an impact on your 
time available for research/teaching as raising a child, but with no 
*apparent* cause.  

Imagine your same-sex life partner is dying of cancer (and your 
supervisor has explicitly made homophobic remarks in your presence, 
so coming out is not an option).  Or you are yourself ill with 
something you *really* don't want to discuss with your supervisor 
something wrong with part of your reproductive system, say).  Or the 
circumstances of your divorce are both painful and humiliating so you 
can't talk about why you are more distressed than the average divorced
person.  In these cases you *can't* "stop the clock", or explain the
gap in your CV or publication list to a future employer, or expect
a good letter from your supervisor when you were going through the
crisis.  Instead, you just keep working, with your productivity visibly 
decreasing, and your colleagues and supervisor thinking that you are 
goofing off or have lost your ability to do science, when you are in 
fact dealing with some crisis in your life you cannot, for whatever 
reason, describe to your co-workers.  I could make an incredibly long 
list of personal crises that would (even if they shouldn't) stigmatize 
an astronomer in some social way, such as being HIV positive or having 
to go to rehab for substance abuse.  There are many many other 
circumstances equally career-damaging, or simply too personal, to 
discuss with your supervisor.

So, while discussion of professional problems for astronomers with 
children is important, so is *also* the discussion of professional 
problems of astronomers with other personal crises that don't fall 
neatly under the "stop the clock" tenure rules, and/or that would 
damage their career even to discuss.  In a perfect world, there
would not be any personal crises that could damage your career,
but the world's not perfect.

Kris Sellgren

From: Kris Sellgren

I overlooked, in my previous posting about personal crises and their
effects on one's career, the two most common personal crises for 
women: rape and abortion. Both can be highly traumatizing and both 
are highly stigmatized. Each is probably more common than all the 
other situations, combined, that I described previously. 30% of 
women are raped during their lifetime, and astronomers are *not* 

-- Kris Sellgren, Ohio State University

From: Andrea Schweitzer

To follow the discussion on the impact of having children, there is a new 
study surveying people who filed for bankruptcy.  The biggest common 
denominator among the bankrupt was having children in the home.

Excerpts from the study are at:

"In just twenty years, the number of women filing petitions for
bankruptcy... increased by 662 percent..."

"Our research eventually unearthed one stunning fact. The families in the
worst financial trouble are not the usual suspects...
they are not a random assortment of Americans who lack the self-control to
keep their spending in check. Rather, the people who consistently rank in
the worst financial trouble are united by one surprising characteristic.
They are parents with children at home. Having a child is now the single
best predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse."

Andrea Schweitzer
Chair, AAS Committee on Employment
Little Thompson Observatory

3. Postdoc/Research Fellow at the Australian National University
From: Theresa Gallagher

This is a 3-year fixed term appointment.
Salary package (inclusive of superannuation):  Postdoctoral Fellow
  $AUD58,625 - $AUD62,735; Research Fellow $AUD65,896 - $77,748

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian
National University invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow or
Research Fellow to assist in the study of the near-IR properties of
Nearby Galaxies.  The successful applicant will work closely with Dr
Simon Driver and Dr Helmut Jerjen to complete two major near-IR
surveys: The near-IR extension of the Millennium Galaxy Catalog
(MGC) and the Local Sphere of Influence (LSI) survey.  Both surveys
will provide unprecedented deep near-IR insight into the luminosity,
size, shape and profile distributions of the very near (d < 10 Mpc)
and low redshift (z < 0.15) galaxy population.

The surveys and their research output is in part directly intended to
provide the vital zero redshift reference material for the upcoming 
James Webb Space Telescope mission to study the Origin and Evolution 
of Galaxies.

The candidate should possess a PhD in astronomy or related field and be
familiar with optical/near-IR imaging, galaxy catalogs, galaxy
morphology and galaxy surface photometry. A component of the MGC work
will involve near-IR bulge-disk decomposition and a component of the
LSI work will involve measuring direct distances to nearby galaxies
using surface brightness fluctuations.

For further information on the position contact Simon Driver
( or Helmut Jerjen (

Related url:

Selection documentation must be obtained prior to application and can be
obtained from:  Please note that referees
must supply their reports at the time of application.  

Closing date for receipt of applications and referee reports:  29 February
2004.  Please quote reference:  RSAA2124

4. Gamma-Ray Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
From: Paul Ho

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory invites applications from highly
qualified individuals for appointment as an Astrophysicist attached to the
Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (in the Optical and Infrared Astronomy
Division). The individual selected for this position will work in the
VERITAS program of research and development of telescopes and
instrumentation for ground-based gamma-ray astronomy.  The candidate will
play a lead role in commissioning and operation of VERITAS. The
Astrophysicist will formulate and conduct independent astrophysical research
in gamma-ray astrophysics as part of his/her primary duty.

Applicants should possess broad knowledge of physics and astronomy as
evidenced by a Ph.D. in astrophysics, astronomy, or physics, or comparable
professional experience; knowledge of the principles of astrophysics to
formulate, conduct and present results in the field of very high energy
gamma-ray astronomy with emphasis on ground-based observations; recognition
in the field as evidenced by a significant record of publications;
experience in use of computers for telescope and camera control, data
acquisition, data analysis, and interpretation; preferably some experience
in planning, construction and operation of gamma-ray telescopes and cameras.

Interested applicants should forward curriculum vitae and bibliography, and
arrange for three professional reference letters to be sent to 
  Dr. Paul Ho, Chair of Federal Scientists Appointment Committee
  c/o Human Resources 
  Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  60 Garden Street
  Cambridge, MA 02138
or via e-mail to For further details on the 
VERITAS project and this position, please visit our website at and Please 
reference job posting 24-10.  Complete applications must be received by
March 31, 2004 to receive consideration. EEO/AA Employer.

5. Head of Observatory Science Software and Data Management, NRAO
From: Tavia Dillon

The NRAO is currently reorganizing its data flow management in an effort to 
develop and deploy more automated processing of astronomical data from its 
telescopes. The instruments currently include the Very Large Array (VLA), 
Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). A more 
automated process will provide increased support to the users of the NRAO 
facilities. The reorganization should be sufficiently accomplished to handle
the early science phase of both the Expanded VLA and ALMA projects beginning 
in 2007.

The successful applicant is expected to provide Observatory-wide leadership 
for the general area of Science Software and Data Management, and will 
report to the Observatory Director. The candidate is expected to oversee and 
coordinate the planning, organization and implementation of this process and 
will play a key role in the production of proposals to funding agencies for
the software development needed.

The candidate is expected to facilitate communication between all software 
development activities at the NRAO; to maintain an overview of requirements 
and priorities in all software development. The incumbent will be responsible 
for the long-range software plan, which includes the resource allocation to 
carry out the plan, the review of progress on software development projects, 
the identification of software efforts with overlapping requirements, and will 
ensure that adequate attention is given to software in telescope development 
initiatives and projects. This position will serve as the NRAO's interface 
with the user community in matters of computing and data management.

A Bachelor's degree in the physical sciences, computer science, or equivalent 
is required; an advanced degree is preferred. At least 10 years experience in 
the management of software development projects is essential. Ability to lead, 
manage and interact smoothly with colleagues and to deal effectively with 
users' demands is essential. Experience with automated processing of 
scientific data is highly desirable. Experience with management of 
geographically separated groups is preferred.

Individuals who wish to apply for the position should send a cover letter and 
resume to:
  Robert D'Angio, Human Resources Manager
  520 Edgemont Road
  Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
or electronically to Women and minorities are encouraged to