AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of June 16, 2006
eds. Patricia Knezek, Jim Ulvestad, & Joan Schmelz

This week's issues:

1. Response to why women go into astronomy vs. physics

2. Memoir by Nan Dieter Conklin

3. Physics Today article on diversity in physics

4. Visiting Assistant Professors (2) in Toledo, Ohio

5. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

1. Response to why women go into astronomy vs. physics
From: Cindy Taylor (ctaylorlawrenceville.org)

[Eds. note:  This is in response to item #1 in the June 9, 2006 AASWOMEN

I would like to reply to Alison Chaiken's question about why more women go 
into astronomy vs physics.  I don't have hard numbers and I teach at a 
private high school rather than at the college level. 

I went to a graduate program that was "Physics and Astronomy" rather than 
just astronomy.  It was a small department with just three main areas:  
astronomy, plasma/space physics, and condensed matter (though now they've 
added biophysics after I've graduated).  Most of the female graduate students 
were in astronomy although none of the astronomy professors were women.   

For me, I had gotten bit by the astronomy bug when I was in 6th/7th grade 
when Carl Sagan's Cosmos series came out.  For some reason, the stars seemed 
more interesting.  When I took Astronomy in high school, I learned about 
Henrietta Leavitt, Annie Cannon, and Maria Mitchell, which, I think, 
subconsciously made me feel a bit more welcome. Also in undergraduate, I 
found more of the astronomy professors to be more encouraging of women rather 
than some of the physics professors I had.  I had my freshman physics 
professor say straight to my face that I shouldn't go into astrophysics.   

So while I have never had a female astronomy professor (though I had worked 
with many female astronomers between undergrad and grad school), the male 
astronomy professors I've had just seemed to provide a more encouraging 
atmosphere than a lot of my physics professors. 

-Cindy Taylor

2. Memoir by Nan Dieter Conklin
From: Ellen Bouton (eboutonnrao.edu)

NRAO and the NRAO Archives are pleased to announce the publication of "Two 
Paths to Heaven's Gate", a memoir by Nan Dieter Conklin.  Dr. Conklin was a 
prominent figure in what was 50 years ago an entirely new science, radio 
astronomy.  She was the first American woman whose PhD dissertation used radio 
astronomy data and, in 1952, the first American woman to formally publish 
original research in the field.  Over the course of her impressive career at 
Harvard and Berkeley, she pioneered studies of neutral hydrogen in nearby 
galaxies that are members of the local group and of the structure of the 
interstellar medium in the Milky Way and other galaxies.  She also played a 
key role in early discoveries and investigations of interstellar masers. In 
her candid memoir, Dr. Conklin discusses the evolution of her scientific work 
and her interactions with the other senior scientists of her day, writing with 
continuing fascination of discoveries both accidental and painstakingly 
accomplished. The book is also clear view of her personal life, from the 
considerable adversities she experienced - the demands of single parenthood 
in the days before childcare, the multiple sclerosis with which she was 
diagnosed in 1960, just two years after receiving her doctorate - to a 
celebration of her immensely happy third marriage to Garret Conklin and 
subsequent exuberant adventures in lifestyle and travel.  Dr. Conklin tells 
of her personal and professional life with a clarity that is accessible to 
both scientists and non-scientists. 

Copies cost $10.00 each prepaid, with an additional per copy shipping and 
handling charge of $3.00 for U.S., $14.00 for Canada/Mexico, and $20 to other 
non-U.S. addresses.  Checks payable to NRAO should be sent to:  NRAO Archives, 
520 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville VA 22903, USA.  Please include a full 
shipping address, or a print copy of the order form found at 
http://www.nrao.edu/archives/Conklin/bookorder.pdf .

Ellen N. Bouton
NRAO Archivist

3. Physics Today article on Diversity in Physics
From:  Patricia Knezek (knezeknoao.edu)

The June 2006 Physics Today contains a very interesting article by Shirley
M. Malcolm on "Diversity in physics."  This article is a part of the special
section in the magazine celebrating 75 of service by the American Institute
of Physics (AIP), and can be downloaded for free at: 
http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-59/iss-6/p44.html .

4. Visiting Assistant Professors (2) in Toledo, Ohio
From: Karen Bjorkman (Karen.Bjorkmanutoledo.edu)

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Toledo invites 
applications for two visiting positions at the Assistant Professor level to 
begin in August 2006. The appointment will be for one year with the 
possibility of reappointment for a second year at the discretion of the 
university. One position will have primary focus on astronomy and natural 
science courses at the introductory level. The second position will have a 
primary focus on introductory physics courses. We particularly encourage 
applications from women and minority candidates. Applications, which should 
include a current CV, a statement of teaching philosophy, and three reference 
letters, will be reviewed beginning July 1, 2006; the position will remain 
open until filled. For information on the department, please see 
www.physics.utoledo.edu. Applications should be sent to: Chair, VAP Search 
Committee, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Mail Stop 111, University of 
Toledo, Toledo, OH, 43606-3390 or by e-mail to 
WBrownphysics.utoledo.edu . The University of Toledo is an Equal Access, 
Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer and Educator.

A Ph.D. in physics or a related field is strongly preferred, along with prior 
teaching experience. The person in this position will be expected to teach 
four introductory-level courses per semester (12 credits), some of which may 
include laboratory sections.

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