AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of February 16, 2007 
eds. Patricia Knezek, Joan Schmelz, Geoffrey Clayton, & Hannah Jang-Condell 
  
This week's issues: 
 
1. Red Hot Debate: CfA Associate Director 
 
2. Red Hot Debate: Berkeley Professor 
 
3. After the Senior Review: Considerations for Optimizing the Workforce 
 
4. Supporting Women in Physics in Developing Countries 
 
5. Three positions at Ball State University 
 
6. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
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1. Red Hot Debate: CfA Associate Director 
From: Nancy Brickhouse [nbrickhousecfa.harvard.edu] 
 
[Eds. note: These responses stem from item #1 in last week's issue of AASWOMEN. The Edmund Optics 
catalog shows a woman in a tight red skirt lounging next to optical equipment with the caption, "Red Hot". 
CSWA has scanned in some of the images and made them available (for now) at 
http://www.dtm.ciw.edu/hannah/CSWA/] 
 
On 5 Jan 2007, a male colleague showed me the Edmund Optics catalog cover and we agreed that, since I 
am head of one of the divisions at the CfA, I should send a complaint. I emailed the customer service 
address and got a quick, polite response, that the woman on the cover, named ``Birgit'' is a 6-year 
employee and Trade Show Manager and Spokesperson. I was told that if I could attend their Trade Show, 
I would likely be ``impressed with her ability to support and be a spokesperson for woman [SIC] 
in engineering.'' 
 
Following my reading of the last AASWOMEN newsletter, I sent a similar complaint to Robert Edmund at 
the sales address. My colleague found both Robert Edmund and Marisa Edmund's email addresses: 
 
redmundedmundoptics.com  
medmundedmundoptics.com 
 
so I forwarded those emails to them on 14 Feb. The text of my cover to Marisa Edmund is: 
 
``Below is my letter to the CEO. As President of the company, you have done a disservice to 
women in the technical professions. If the company's product needs this kind of advertising, 
perhaps we should worry that the quality has diminished under your leadership. 
 
I am responsible for maintaining a workplace free of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. 
Will I need to ban your catalog?'' 
 
Marisa Edmund, VP of Marketing, responded the same day, ``Thank you for your feedback. I will 
be sure to review your comments and concerns with the CEO and entire EO team. We have significantly 
changed our marketing campaigns moving forward and hope you will find them more appropriate.'' 
 
I forwarded the correspondence from the 14th to the publishers of Physics Today and NASA Tech Briefs, 
both of which are carrying the catalog cover as advertisement. I suggested that they review their 
policies on accepting such advertisement.  
 
Joseph Pramberger, president of the publisher of NASA Tech Briefs, responded, ``I'm sorry you found 
the ad offensive. I will follow up with Edmund Optics to review their upcoming ad designs.'' 
 
I have not received a reply from Physics Today. If others want to add their concerns the email 
address that I used is:  
 
ptpubaip.org 
 
Personal notes: I got my PhD in experimental physics, and the trade catalogs back in the early 
1980's were worse than this. They were a source of embarrassment and discomfort to me as the only 
female or one of few in the laboratory (but never did I admit this until now!). The catalogs certainly 
weren't the worst of the problems, but that's another story. 
 
The good news is that the climate has changed a lot. I heard that one of the engineers here 
recently said how ``increasingly uncomfortable he is going to technical trade shows, because the 
industry demonstration/information areas are still overwhelmingly staffed by what he (after struggling 
to find a more appropriate description) could only call 'booth babes'.'' 
 
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2. Red Hot Debate: Berkeley Professor 
From: Geoff Marcy [gmarcyberkeley.edu] 
 
Dear Mr. Radojkovic and Mr. Delfino and Mr. Dover, 
 
As representatives of Edmund Optics, I hope you will pass the following message to the appropriate 
management at Edmund Optics. 
 
I just saw the images from the Edmund Optics catalog that show a woman in a tight red skirt lounging 
next to some optical devices, some with the caption, "Red Hot". I hope Robert Edmund and the board 
of directors of Edmund can be alerted to this problem. 
 
As a scientist and professor at UC Berkeley I am embarrassed on behalf of the many female science 
students coming along.  I wonder what message such images of sex objects in your ads send to 
bright young scientists of both genders. 
 
Moreover, after decades of overt discrimination against women in the physical sciences, including 
precluding their admission to the best universities and the denial of access to the world's best 
telescopes, your ad represents a setback.  It reminds us of a dark era of clear discrimination 
against women, a time that I'm sure Edmund Optics hopes is long gone.  If so, you have made a very 
serious error that insults the scientific community. 
 
As you can imagine, your ad has already generated extraordinary discussion in the scientific 
community, analogous to the discussion over the comments by Harvard's president who implied that 
women might not have what it takes to be great scientists.  In short, your company has left open 
the question of your equal and unbiased treatment of women in your company and in your contracts. 
 
Sincerely, 
Geoffrey Marcy 
Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley 
Elected Member, United States National Academy of Sciences 
 
[Eds. note: Reply from Bill Dover 
wDoveredmundoptics.com] 
 
Hi Geoff, 
 
Thank you for your feedback regarding the EO catalog and our recent cover. No need to be 
embarrassed for the many female science students coming along. Rather, encourage them to 
celebrate that another smart, young, and attractive female has joined the ranks of women in a 
technical field, which breaks the pattern of discrimination you describe.  You see, the woman 
featured on the cover is a six-year employee of Edmund and our Trade Show Manager and Spokesperson.  
Over the years we've received numerous positive comments and she has proven herself to possess the 
needed technical and social ability to successfully coordinate our tradeshows that showcase our products. 
 
The recent cover photo emphasized a new product launch by Edmund. Our Trade Show Manager coordinated 
the showcase of these products at Photonics West last month. Had you happened by our booth for a 
visit, you would have had the opportunity to meet and speak with her about our Kinematic mounts as 
well as receive additional technical information from two other smart, young, and attractive, female 
optical engineers present at the time.  So that you know, this line of Kinematic Optical Mounts, 
Table Platforms, and Mechanical Accessories are technically situated to become the standard for 
optical positioning equipment in the marketplace. We are excited about the quality, features, and 
price of these products and know that they will be very difficult to compete with and we chose our 
Trade Show Manager to help commemorate their release. 
 
Professor Geoff, please encourage ALL of your female students to join the technical, engineering, 
and science ranks.  There are too many that fall prey to the stereotypical concepts of what a 
person should look like or dress like which keep them from significant contributions in our society. 
That said, we value the opinions of our customers and we evaluate the feedback in developing our 
future strategies. I appreciate the time you have taken to mention your concerns here.  I hope 
you will take the opportunity to encourage your female students to meet our female optical 
engineers at Edmund Optics. I think they, and you, will be impressed with their ability to 
support and represent woman in engineering. 
 
Best Regards, 
Bill 
707-794-0363 
 
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3. After the Senior Review: Considerations for Optimizing the Workforce 
From: Nancy Brickhouse [nbrickhousecfa.harvard.edu] 
 
Keivan Stassun and Patricia Knezek on behalf of the CSWA and CSMA have expressed concerns about 
women and minorities at the junior stages of their careers. Their statement is published in the 
AAS Electronic Newsletter entitled ``After the Senior Review: Considerations for Optimizing the Workforce.'' 
 
[Eds. note: Here is the original statement:  
 
Second only to "optimizing the science," the NSF Senior Review Committee identified "optimizing the 
workforce" as a core principle in carrying out its charge of examining NSF AST's portfolio of 
facilities and other discretionary activities. Quoting from the report: "The implementation of 
the proposed program should consider diverse workforce needs within the Division of Astronomical 
Sciences supported observatory system and should provide for the training of the next generation 
of scientists and engineers." 
 
The AAS CSWA and CSMA endorse this key principle as the astronomical community moves forward with 
the recommendations of the Senior Review Committee. The small absolute numbers of women and 
minorities (particularly the latter) within the discipline, and their concentration at the early 
stages of the professional ladder, implies that these constituencies may be particularly vulnerable 
to breaks in continuity of career trajectory that may naturally arise from divestments of current 
facilities and redistribution of resources. At the same time, with adequate forethought and deliberate 
planning, the vigorous new investments planned for the next generation of AST-supported facilities 
and activities represents a promising opportunity for the community to recommit to encouraging and 
enabling broadened participation of a diverse workforce. The Senior Review Committee's fifth 
principle -- "engaging the university community" -- will likely be important to achieving this goal. 
 
The AAS CSWA and CSMA urge NSF AST and the astronomical community at large to keep these core principles 
at the fore as we move forward with optimism following the Senior Review.] 
 
 
While I share their concerns about breaks in ``continuity of career trajectory'' for younger scientists, 
I also am concerned that senior women and minorities may be disproportionately vulnerable. For example, 
NSF generally does not fund senior scientists' salaries beyond traditional university summer salary 
levels, so if soft-money senior scientists are disproportionately women and minorities, a policy such 
as this can have an unintentional negative impact. 
 
At SAO we have a window into the ``soft money'' problem for women. SAO has both permanent (federal 
civil service) and non-permanent (trust-funded primarily from contracts and grants) employees on the 
same salary scale. Using HR data from 2001 for employees 10 years or more past PhD, grades 14 and 
above, we had: 
 
        Soft       Permanent     Soft    Permanent 
        Numbers    Numbers       %       % 
Male     39        51            43      57 
Female   10         5            67      33 
 
Different cuts on the same data set show a similar trend. 
 
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4. Supporting Women in Physics in Developing Countries 
From: WIPHYS February 15, 2007 
 
The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Working Group on Women in Physics has 
received funding to launch a sixth round of the IUPAP program to fund the attendance of women from 
developing and eastern European countries at regional conferences and schools this fall. We expect 
to be able to fund 20 women up to a maximum of $700 each. 
 
Applications for these grants should be received no later than March 31, 2007. Recipients will be 
chosen by the IUPAP Working Group on Women in Physics by April 25, and we will notify everyone by 
May 4, 2007. 
 
Only women physicists from Eastern Europe or developing countries may apply. Due to limited funding 
those who have received a grant in the past, under this program, are not eligible for a second grant. 
 
Those interested in applying for a grant should submit the following information, preferable by 
email as a WORD document or as text within the email. Please do not send as a pdf file. 
 
1. Complete contact information including name, address, email and phone. 
2. Years since your Ph.D (or undergraduate degree for graduate students) was granted. 
3. Brief description of the conference or workshop you wish to attend (including date of conf., 
place to be held, & website if available) 
4. Brief statement of how attending the conference will enhance your career. 
5. A breakdown of the amount of money (up to $700 US) required to attend (Ex: Airfare, 
registration fee, meals). 
6. One Letter of recommendation. 
 
Send all information to Jackie Beamon-Kiene at, beamonaps.org by March 31, 2007. 
 
http://www.iupap.org/wg/wip/travelgrants-07.html   
 
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5. Three positions at Ball State University 
From: Thom Robertson [trobertsonbsu.edu] 
 
Tenure-track position available August 17, 2007. Responsibilities: teach undergraduate and 
graduate courses in astronomy and physics; conduct an active research program in astronomical/astrophysics 
research using the SARA remotely-controlled telescope; supervise student research activities at 
both the undergraduate and graduate levels; participate in service related activities.   
 
Minimum qualifications: Ph.D. completed before July 1, 2007, in physics, astrophysics, and/or 
astronomy; research experience in observational optical astronomy; effective communication skills 
in both classroom and laboratory settings. Preferred qualifications: one year of teaching experience 
at the college level that may include typical graduate student level teaching experience; 
interest in optical instrumentation and interest in teaching department's intermediate-level 
optics laboratory course. 
 
Send letter of application that indicates goals in research and teaching; curriculum vitae, 
including evidence of experience in research and teaching; transcripts; and the names and 
contact information for three references to:  
 
Chair of Search Committee Astronomy/Astrophysics,  
Department of Physics and Astronomy,  
Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306.  
 
Tenure-track position available August 17, 2007. Responsibilities: teaching courses for 
pre-service elementary education majors, mentoring pre-service physics teachers, and assisting 
in the assessment of teaching portfolios; teaching graduate courses; providing workshops for 
in-service teachers; conducting an active program in education research in physics, astronomy, 
and/or physical science; supervising student research activities at both the undergraduate 
and graduate levels; assisting in departmental academic assessment activities; participating 
in service-related activities associated with tenure-track positions.  
 
Minimum qualifications: Ph.D. completed before July 1, 2007, in physics, astronomy, or science 
education with research experience in physics, astronomy, and/or physical science education; 
strong background in statistical methods associated with education research and assessment; 
effective communication skills in both classroom and laboratory settings. Preferred 
qualification: one year of teaching experience at the college level which may include typical 
graduate student-level teaching experience. 
 
Send letter of application which indicates goals in research and teaching; curriculum vitae; 
including evidence of experience in research and teaching; transcripts; and the names and 
contact information for three references to:  
 
Chair of Search Committee, Education Research,  
Department of Physics and Astronomy,  
Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306.  
 
Contract faculty position available August 17, 2007. Responsibilities: teaching general 
education physics or astronomy courses involving lecture and laboratory; teaching upper 
division undergraduate and graduate level courses; conducting research; participating in 
departmental service related activities.  
 
Minimum qualifications: earned doctorate in physics, astronomy, or physics education research 
at time of appointment; teaching experience at the college level which may include typical 
graduate teaching assistant assignments; effective communication skills in both classroom 
and laboratory settings. Preferred qualifications: two or more years of teaching experience 
at the college level; experience or interest in a current research area of the department. 
 
Send letter of application which indicates goals in research and teaching; curriculum vitae, 
including evidence of experience in research and teaching; transcripts; and the names and 
contact information for three references to:  
 
Chair of Search Committee, Contract,  
Department of Physics and Astronomy,  
Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306.   
 
Review of applications will begin March 14, 2007, and will continue until the positions 
are filled, (www.bsu.edu/physics) 
 
Ball State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and is strongly 
and actively committed to diversity within its community. 
 
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