AAS Committee on the Status of Women  
 
Issue of June 12, 2009 	 
 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. Helen Sawyer Hogg: A Brief History 
 
2. NRC Study on Gender 
 
3. Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Women in Physics 
 
4. The Name Game 
 
5. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
6. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1. Helen Sawyer Hogg: A Brief History 
From: Christine Clement (cclementastro.utoronto.ca) 
 
Helen Sawyer Hogg (1905-1993) was born in Lowell, Mass. She graduated from  
Mt. Holyoke in 1926 and then went to Harvard where she worked with Harlow 
Shapley on globular clusters. She received her PhD from Radcliffe in 1931.  
 
 
In 1930, she married fellow student Frank Hogg and in 1931, they moved to 
Victoria, British Columbia where Frank was appointed to the staff of the 
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Working as an unpaid volunteer, Helen used 
the DAO 72-inch reflector to start her own program to search for and study 
variable stars in globular clusters. In 1935, the family moved to Richmond 
Hill, Ontario, where Frank joined the staff of the David Dunlap 
Observatory and Helen continued her globular cluster observing program with 
the DDO 74-inch. She published more than 200 papers on her research and was 
well known in the astronomy community for her catalogs of variable stars 
in globular clusters. She began teaching at the University of Toronto in 
1941 and subsequently rose through the ranks to become a full professor 
in 1957.  
 
Helen was also a skilled administrator. Throughout her career, she was the  
president of a number of scientific organizations, starting with the AAVSO, 
in 1939. In 1955-1956, she served as program director for astronomy at NSF 
in Washington, D.C. She was the founding president of the Canadian 
Astronomical Society when it formed in 1971.  
 
 
Outside astronomy, Helen was best known for her writing. For thirty years 
(1951-1980), she wrote a weekly column on astronomy for a major Toronto news 
paper. She also wrote a popular book on astronomy, "The Stars Belong to 
Everyone", published by Doubleday in 1976.  
 
 
Her achievements were recognized by many awards and honours. For example, 
she received the Annie Cannon award (AAS) in 1949, the Rittenhouse medal 
(Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, Philadelphia) in 1967 and the Dorothea 
Klumpke-Roberts award (ASP) in 1983. She received six honorary degrees; her 
first one was from her Alma Mater, Mt. Holyoke, in 1958. In 1976, Helen was 
appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, awarded for a lifetime of 
outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree.  
 
 
For more, see e.g., http://www.astro.utoronto.ca/about/hsh 
 
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2. NRC Study on Gender 
From: Ivan King [kingastro.washington.edu] 
 
Women Faring Well in Hiring and Tenure Processes for Science and 
Engineering Jobs At Research Universities, But Still Underrepresented 
in Applicant Pools 
 
WASHINGTON -- Although women are still underrepresented in the applicant 
pool for faculty positions in math, science, and engineering at major 
research universities, those who do apply are interviewed and hired at rates 
equal to or higher than those for men, says a new report from the National 
Research Council. Similarly, women are underrepresented among those 
considered for tenure, but those who are considered receive tenure at the 
same or higher rates than men. 
 
The congressionally mandated report examines how women at 
research-intensive universities fare compared with men at key transition 
points in their careers. Two national surveys were commissioned to help 
address the issue. The report's conclusions are based on the findings of 
these surveys of tenure-track and tenured faculty in six disciplines -- 
biology, chemistry, mathematics, civil engineering, electrical engineering, 
and physics -- at 89 institutions in 2004 and 2005. The study committee 
also heard testimony and examined data from federal agencies, professional 
societies, individual university studies, and academic articles. 
 
In each of the six disciplines, women who applied for tenure-track 
positions had a better chance of being interviewed and receiving job 
offers than male applicants had. For example, women made up 20 percent of 
applicants for positions in mathematics but accounted for 28 percent of 
those interviewed, and received 32 percent of the job offers. This was also 
true for tenured positions, with the exception of those in biology. 
 
However, women are not applying for tenure-track jobs at research-intensive 
universities at the same rate that they are earning Ph.D.s, the report 
says. The gap is most pronounced in disciplines with larger fractions of 
women receiving Ph.D.s; for example, while women received 45 percent of 
the Ph.D.s in biology awarded by research-intensive universities from 1999 
to 2003, they accounted for only 26 percent of applicants to tenure-track 
positions at those schools. Research is needed to investigate why more 
women are not applying for these jobs, the committee said.  
 
 
For more, please see: 
 
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID3D12062 
 
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3. Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Women in Physics 
From: Nancy Brickhouse [nbrickhousecfa.harvard.edu] 
 
"The mark of a successful departmental climate for women is one in which  
the enthusiasm and ambition of the women undergraduates is transformed 
smoothly into successful and ambitious women graduate students, with 
dynamic, forging-ahead female postdocs, energetic junior women faculty, 
and productive, happy, senior women faculty who all serve as positive 
role models."
 
This is a quote from a successful female physics faculty member who has 
served on several American Physical Society Site Visits to Improve the 
Climate for Women in Physics. So how can a physics department make this 
vision a reality? We list below a set of suggested "Best Practices" that 
are intended as an aid to departments in working towards this goal. From 
many years of experience with the Site Visits, implementing such best 
practices will improve the climate for both men and women in physics, 
and is therefore well worth the effort! 
 
Best Practices for Female Faculty 
Best Practices for Hiring the Most Qualified Faculty 
Best Practices for Female Postdoctoral Researchers and Research Scientists 
Best Practices for Female Graduate Students 
Best Practices for Female Undergraduate Students 
Causes for Concern 
Additional Reading Material 
Recommended Strategies 
 
Please see: 
 
http://aps.org/programs/women/reports/bestpractices/index.cfm 
 
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4. The Name Game 
From: Hannah at the Women in Astronomy Blog 
 
A blog reader writes in for advice. For the purposes of anonymity, I will 
call her Ann Baker-Cooper and her fiance Yancy Zhan. She writes: 
 
...people have already started asking me what I plan to do with my last 
name -- change it, keep it, triple hyphenate it, etc. I know you decided to 
go with the hyphenation route, but I've spent my entire life trying to get 
away from the hyphenated last name. I am really excited about the idea of 
taking Yancy's last name, which would make me Ann Zhan. However, there is 
the major problem that I am fairly advanced in my career at this point, 
and I've published a lot of papers under my current last name. Also, 
Baker-Cooper has that uniqueness factor when it comes to publishing, 
since only 1 other person in the entire world shares my last name. (I 
did look up "Zhan" on ADS, and there are several, but no other A. Zhans.)  
 
 
...One idea for me is to change my last name to Zhan in my personal life, 
but use Baker-Cooper in my professional life. I think this sounds a little 
complicated though, since both spheres tend to overlap... and what do you 
do when someone at your work books your flights under your professional name  
b/c they assume it's your legal name. Sounds like a mess to me!  
 
 
What do you suggest? Read the full entry and comment at: 
 
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2009/06/name-game.html 
 
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6. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
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