AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of February 23, 2007 
eds. Patricia Knezek, Joan Schmelz, Geoffrey Clayton, & Hannah Jang-Condell 
This week's issues: 
1. Red Hot Debate: From the blog of Luke Strosnider 
2. Red Hot Debate: Ellen Zweibel's response 
3. Red Hot Debate:  TEL-Atomic similar situation 
4. Dorrit Hoffleit's 100th birthday 
5. Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) sessions at the APS 
meeting in Denver 
6. Postdoc Position at The 'Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille' (LAM) 
7. Faculty Position at Mount Allison University 
8. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
1. Red Hot Debate: From the blog of Luke Strosnider 
From:   Bryan Gaensler (bgaensler@usyd.edu.au) 
[Eds. note: These responses stem from items in the last two weeks 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  
Here is a blog discussion of the catalog cover including responses from 
Marisa Edmund: 
2. Red Hot Debate: Ellen Zweibel's response 
From: Ellen Zweibel (zweibel@astro.wisc.edu) 
Dear Robert & Marisa Edmund; 
I have been following some of the discussion about your "Red Hot" ad, 
and would like to offer my own observations. By the way, although I am 
now a professor of theoretical astrophysics and do not purchase 
scientific equipment, as a child I was addicted to your catalog, and was 
 thrilled when I had saved enough money to order an eyepiece for my 
I agree with you that it is  good for young persons to see  attractive 
scientists and engineers. Most young people want to be attractive, and 
there are too many geek and nerd stereotypes out there. I'm sure there 
are a lot of good-looking young men working for you - why not pose some 
of them draped seductively over a piece of scientific equipment? It will 
reassure your male readers that they needn't sacrifice comeliness for a 
technical career, and will provide welcome eye candy to those readers 
who like to look at pictures of handsome men. 
Or, if you don't aspire to become the "Victoria's Secret" of the 
technology sector, why not show both genders in professional poses? 
They'll be just as effective as role models. 
Best wishes, 
Ellen Zweibel 
Professor of Astronomy and Physics 
University of Wisconsin 
3. Red Hot Debate:  TEL-Atomic similar situation 
From: Andria Schwortz (aschwortz@qcc.mass.edu) 
The recent fervor over the Edmund Scientific "Red Hot" ad reminds me of 
a similar situation that I observed in November 2005.  I received a 
postcard ad from TEL-Atomic for their Computerized Cavendish Balance, 
inviting faculty to "demonstrate horizontal gravity with attractive 
students."  A web-based version of the ad can be found at the below URL. 
I sent two letters in response to this - a physical letter to TEL-Atomic 
on letterhead, and an email to the professor who appeared in the 
advertisement.  The letter to TEL-Atomic never received a response; the 
letter to the professor did.  All are copied below.   
TEL-Atomic Incorporated 
P.O. Box 924 
Jackson, MI 49204-0924 
(800) 622-2866 
November 9, 2005 
To Whom It May Concern: 
I am writing regarding your recent advertisement postcard for a 
Computerized Cavendish Balance (TEL PR2111) that I received in the mail 
in my role of Instructor of Integrated Science and Physics at 
Quinsigamond Community College. I find the sexual innuendoes of this 
advertisement to be in poor taste, offensive, harassing, and a shocking 
encouragement of the unequal treatment of women in the sciences.  
The text of the ad included the sentence "Demonstrate 'horizontal' 
gravity ...with 'attractive' students." While it is possible that your 
advertisement department wasn't intending to make sexual innuendoes when 
writing this ad, I feel the emphasis with quotation marks makes that 
unlikely. The phrase "'horizontal' gravity" was probably meant to refer 
to gravity between two masses acting in a horizontal direction, however 
the implication is of sexual activities. Referring to students as 
"attractive" is even worse, as it implies that a sexual or romantic 
interaction (including sexual harassment) between students and their 
teacher role models is acceptable.  
As your corporation should be well aware, science is a field that has 
traditionally had difficulty attracting and retaining female students, 
as well as helping its female students achieve success. These trends 
start from the earliest ages in middle school, continue through high 
school and college as women "leak out of the pipeline," and culminate in 
low percentages of female science PhDs awarded. Even rates of tenure are 
skewed against women faculty members. These trends in science as a whole 
are worse in the physical sciences, such as physics and engineering. 
Although we are slowly making progress, it is an uphill struggle for us 
women in a field where we are considered an anomaly. It is severely 
disappointing to see that a company that creates and advertises physics 
equipment would perpetuate the atmosphere that leads to the poor 
retention and success rates of women in physics.  
I request that you forward my comments to your advertising department, 
as well as whoever handles Equal Opportunity issues and concerns at your 
institution, for consideration by both groups as to how your company may 
become more inclusive and cease practices that discourage women in the 
field of physics. In addition, please remove me from your mailing list 
for future products.  
If you have any further questions regarding my concerns and opinion 
about this inappropriate advertisement, please feel free to contact me 
at the above address. Thank you for your time.  
Andria Schwortz 
CC: My dept chair; the prof in the ad 
Encl: Photocopy of the ad 
Dr. Frederick D. Trexler,  
I would like to bring to your attention an advertisement by the company 
TEL-Atomic Inc. for their Computerized Cavendish Balance (TEL RP2111) 
that uses pictures of students in the Spring Arbor University Physics 
Department.  In case you are unaware of the content of the 
advertisement, it contains sexual innuendoes - "Demonstrate 'horizontal' 
gravity ...with 'attractive' students."  I find this content to be 
offensive and inappropriate, and it appears to approve sexual 
relationships and harassment between faculty and students. 
Additionally, the message reflects an attitude that discourages the 
retention and success of women in the field of physics.   
I have written a letter of complaint to the corporation regarding this 
advertisement, and as the use of the images of your students and the 
name of your school implies that you condone the content of the 
advertisement, including the inappropriate wording, I thought it 
appropriate to bring to your attention as well.  Please find my letter 
to TEL-Atomic Inc. attached in MS Word format - I can send it to you in 
a different format if you prefer, including plain text or .pdf, or I can 
send you a copy via postal mail or fax.  I can also send you a copy of 
the advertisement itself if desired.   
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at this 
email address or by the below contact information.  Thank you for your 
Andria Schwortz 
Dear Ms. Schwortz, 
Thank you for making me aware of your concern regarding the Cavendish 
Balance advertisement. When I do this experiment with my students, I 
tell them that we are actively participating in a demonstration of 
Newton's law of gravitation, which says that every mass attracts every 
other mass. We do not sense the horizontal gravitational force because 
of the much larger vertical force of the Earth on our bodies. But with 
the Tel-Atomic Cavendish Balance we can show that our bodies attract the 
lead spheres suspended on the tungsten fiber. I think that the slogan 
"attractive students" is a clever play on words, and I am shocked that 
you would find innuendoes of sexual harassment in them. It suggests to me 
that where you live people have re-defined ordinary words to mean dirty 
things.  I suppose that it is a sign of the times, along with banning 
the display of the Ten Commandments and Christmas mangers, that 
secular-minded people will see offenses in anything. 
Since you know all about the words that offend, how would you re-write 
the ad to get across the idea of using the mass our own bodies to 
demonstrate horizontal gravity? 
Fred Trexler, Ph.D. 
Professor of Physics 
Chair, Math/Computer Science/Physics 
Spring Arbor University 
Spring Arbor, Michigan 49283 
Faith, Living, and Learning 
I replied to Dr. Trexler a few days later - I don't have the full text 
of what I sent, but it was something to the effect of "I did not mean 
this as an attack against you, but I thought the ad contained 
unnecessary language that may have put your school in a bad light. My 
email was intended as a professional courtesy to you in case you were 
unaware of the wording in the ad, and my apologies if that did not come 
out clearly the first time around."  I forget how I suggested rewording 
the ad.   
TEL-Atomic removed me from their mailing list a couple months later, but 
last semester called me to check if I wanted to be back on the list.  I 
haven't followed up further with them, but the postcard hangs in my 
office, and I often show it to students as an example of how we must 
each make efforts to stop discrimination, whether perpetuated by 
ourselves or others.  I will now add this Edmund Optics ad to the 
4. Dorrit Hoffleit's 100th birthday 
From: Meg Urry (meg.urry@yale.edu) 
I just wanted to let everyone know that Dr. Dorrit Hoffleit will be 100 on 
March 12. I am sure she would be pleased to receive birthday wishes; she 
does not have an email address but can receive mail at the Department of 
Astronomy, Yale University, PO Box 208101, New Haven, CT 06520-8101. For 
details about Dorrit's remarkable career, which included a long stint at 
the Harvard College Observatory, see the following links: 
5. Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) sessions at the 
APS meeting in Denver 
From: WIPHYS February 20, 2007 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) and the Forum on 
Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP) will co-sponsor a networking breakfast 
from 7:30-9:30 am on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at the APS meeting in Denver.  
Both men and women are welcome to attend.  Enjoy a delicious full breakfast 
and hear an informal talk by Lisa Dhar of InPhase Technologies.  Cost: 
$15.  $5 for physics students, thanks to FIAP's generosity.  Please 
pre-register at http://www.aps.org/meetings/march/special.cfm as there 
may be only limited space for walk-ins.  The breakfast will be held in 
the Convention Center (Room 107) to allow those who wish to attend 
invited sessions.   
Tuesday, March 6, 2007 11:15AM - 2:15PM.  Session J6 'Women in Academic 
Science: Balancing Career and Children'  Colorado Convention Center, Room 
207 This panel discussion will bring together five women who span a 
range of stages in their faculty careers and who all have children. They 
will discuss practical strategies that they have adopted to address the 
challenges of career and family, as well as their views on what departments 
and institutions can/should do to help.  Speakers will be Susan Coppersmith, 
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Marija Drndic, University of Pennsylvania, 
Ka Yee Lee, University of Chicago, Nadya Mason, University of Illinois 
at Urbana-Champaign, and Katherina Vollmayr-Lee, Bucknell University. 
Enjoy a dessert buffet, learn about the work of the Committee on Minorities 
in Physics and the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, network 
with colleagues, and unwind after a long day of sessions.  This event 
will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 7:00-8:00 pm in the Adams Mark Hotel 
(Governor's Square 16).   
6. Post Doc Position at The 'Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille' (LAM) 
From: Lia Athanassoula (lia@oamp.fr) 
The 'Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille' (LAM), part 
of the 'Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence' (OAMP), 
offers a post-doc position in the area of Dynamics of Galaxies. 
The successful candidate will work with Dr. Lia Athanassoula 
on a project to model the formation and secular evolution of disk galaxies. 
More details on the project can be found at 
Candidates should have a PhD in Physics or Astronomy by the 
time of the appointment. Experience with N-body and hydro codes is 
The position is for two years, with a possibility of extension 
of one more year. Starting date is in the fall of 2007. Funds 
for travel are available in addition to the salary. Computing 
means available include access time on supercomputers, and 
a dedicated cluster, partially equipped with GRAPE boards. 
Applicants should send a CV, a list of publications, and a research 
statement, and arrange for three letters of recommendation, all to be sent 
to lia_AT_oamp.fr 
Applications should be received by March 31, 2007. 
Applications from women are encouraged 
7. Faculty Position at Mount Allison University 
From: Robert Hawkes (rhawkes@mta.ca) 
We are in particular seeking applications from women for the following 
position.  Mount Allison offers a dynamic and friendly small (6 faculty, 
1 teaching support staff, 2 post-doctoral fellows currently) liberal 
education setting with an active studio style of instruction in a number 
of our courses and a vibrant undergraduate research program. 
The Department of Physics at Mount Allison University invites applications 
for a nine-month sessional appointment (sabbatical replacement position) 
at the rank of Lecturer or Assistant Professor effective August 1, 2007, 
subject to budgetary approval. The successful candidate will teach four 
undergraduate physics courses (two each term) and their associated 
laboratories. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. A Ph.D. 
in physics is preferred, and teaching experience is desirable.  Applications 
will include a curriculum vitae, a statement regarding teaching 
interests and qualifications with respect to four or more courses taught 
by the department (refer to http://www.mta.ca/academic_dept/physics.html , 
ideally the following subsection of courses: Astronomy, General Physics 
I & II, Thermodynamics, Classical Mechanics and Relativity, Statistical 
Mechanics), as well as complete contact information for three referees. 
Applications should be forwarded to: 
Dr. Mohammad Ahmady 
Chair of the Search Committee 
Department of Physics 
Mount Allison University 
67 York St. 
Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1E6 
Email: physics@mta.ca       Fax: 506-364-2583 
It is preferred that applications be submitted as pdf attachment by email 
to physics@mta.ca.  Consideration of applications will commence on March 
16, 2007, and will be accepted until the position is filled.  
Mount Allison University welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages 
applications from all qualified women and men, including aboriginal 
peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. 
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians
 and permanent residents will be given priority. Canadian and permanent 
residents should indicate their citizenship status in their application. 
8. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
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