Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 13, 2010
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. "Agora": movie about Hypatia

2. Maternity leave 

3. Man Boy(cott)?

4. NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program

5. POPA Seeking Suggestions 

6. Call for Nominations - 2011 Alan T. Waterman Award

7. Volunteers Needed for Virtual Classroom Visits 

8. 2 PostDoc & 1 PhD position on Exoplanet characterization MPIA 


9. Joliot-Curie Fellowship for Women

10. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

11.  Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN

1."Agora": movie about Hypatia
From: Fran Bagenal []

Made by a Spanish director, the movie "Agora" has been
out in various art movie houses around the country.
It features Hypatia (astronomer & philosopher) and
the strife of the fall of the roman empire and battling
religious factions of ~400AD. The movie naturally
embellishes things perhaps a little but generally
sticks fairly well to history - at least as I have read about 
these times and Hypatia (about whom we know very little).
I found it thought-provoking and liked the way the 
Intro Astro topics were incorporated. I will probably 
buy the DVD and use segments in classes.

Read Roger Ebert's review:

Read my article in STATUS about teaching as Hypatia:

Find out where it is showing:

2. Maternity leave 
From: Alice Astro Info []

I just found out that a colleague (Ph.D, astronomy, physics, adjunct
professor) can't take (even unpaid) maternity leave because she does
more research than teaching at a university that is trying to position
itself to have more of a research focus than they have had. So, even
though she works full time, she gets no sick time, no vacation, and no
maternity leave. If she takes a quarter off to have a child, all her
seniority will be lost. 

Excuse me, but this is just wrong. What can we do to fix this?

We live in a world of equality? A world where women are valued?

How can I go out to talk to teenage girls and tell them you can have it
all, if you want it bad enough to work hard, when there are people like
my friend? 

[editor's note: this situation would also adversely affect a man in the
same situation if he needed to take serious time off for some reason;
however, maternity leave is more physically necessary for women, though
family leave is needed by both.  And more women than men are likely to
be in non-tenure track jobs in academia. But it is an issue for people
in academia in general.] 

3. Man Boy(cott)?
From: Female Science Professor Blog

At various times in this blog, I have described professional events such
as conference sessions, workshops, and speaker series in which there are
no invited women speakers. The audience might consist of 30-50% women,
especially if students and postdocs are in attendance, but every invited
speaker is male. It is easier to explain the occurrence of such
situations if there are a limited number of invited speaker slots in a
field with few women researchers; it becomes more difficult when there
are a dozen or more invited speaker slots and more than a few women
researchers in that field. 

There are a number of possible explanations for the absence of women as
invited speakers at these events: e.g., deliberate exclusion because the
organizers don't respect women researchers, accidental/unthinking
exclusion because the organizers just didn't think of any 'qualified'
women, or despite-best-efforts exclusion when all invited women decline
an invitation. In today's post, I don't want to discuss which of these
explanations is most likely, as the answer to that will vary from event
to event and from field to field. I would, however, like to discuss the

Does an all-men speaker slate influence your decision about whether to
attend these events? 

[see the full post at ]

4.  NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program
From: Luisa Rebull []

I'm the director of the NITARP (the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research
Program) -- the purpose of this program is to provide educators (mostly
but not exclusively grade 8-13 classroom teachers) with an authentic
research experience in astronomy. In exchange, we ask educators to
leverage this experience via providing professional development for their
colleagues in their local area, or other similar activities. It involves
several trips to collaborate with research astronomers and present the
research results (at AAS meetings), all of which are paid for by the

The kinds of educators we are looking for are those who already know
the basics of astronomy, and are interested in learning exactly how
astronomy research is conducted.  If you know of any interested educators,
I would really appreciate it if you could relay this information!

The application instructions and place to upload your completed
application are both here:
and the deadline for applications is Sep 24, 3pm Pacific time.

If you have any questions, please let me know.


5. POPA Seeking Suggestions 
From: WIPHYS for Aug. 10, 2010

For two decades the APS Council has authorized the Panel on Public
Affairs (POPA) to study topics ranging from energy and environment to
national security. APS members may submit ideas for future studies and
reports. Submit your suggestions at 

6. Call for Nominations - 2011 Alan T. Waterman Award
From: WIPHYS for Aug. 10, 2010

The Alan T. Waterman Award is the highest honor awarded by the National
Science Foundation. Since 1975, when Congress established the award to
honor the agency's first director, the annual award has been bestowed
upon individuals who have demonstrated exceptional individual
achievement in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality
to place them at the forefront of their peers.

The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field
of science or engineering supported by the National Science
Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of 
$500,000 over a three year period for scientific research or advanced
study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social or
other sciences at the institution of the recipient's choice.

Deadline is October 30, 2010. Full information is available at

7. Volunteers Needed for Virtual Classroom Visits 
From: WIPHYS for Aug. 10, 2010

Using existing technology available through an internet-based videophone
service, the Virtual Scientist Guest Lecture Series will arrange for
scientists to participate in a "virtual" in-classroom visit without
leaving their lab or research facility. The program allows both
scientists and students to experience an interactive dialogue that
inspires and engages students about dynamic cutting edge science
research. The technology requirements are minimal, requiring only that
each participant (i.e. school and scientist) have a computer with
high-speed internet access, a high quality monitor, webcam, speakers and
microphone.  Sign up to volunteer at

8. 2 PostDoc & 1 PhD position on Exoplanet characterization MPIA
From: Lisa Kaltenegger []

OPEN: 2 PostDoc & 1 PhD position on Exoplanet characterization MPIA

send application to: (Sept. 15 2010+)

Job Description:
The Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) Heidelberg is seeking a
number of highly motivated, qualified and curious postdoctoral
researchers in the field of exoplanet characterization in the new
cross-disciplinary group of Lisa Kaltenegger on one of the following
areas: atmospheric chemistry of extrasolar planets, planetary interiors
and outgassing, Super-Earth observations with ground- and space-based
telescopes and theoretical studies of habitability and biomarkers. 2 or
more positions will be available starting Oct 2010. Working language of
the group is English.

Applicants should have a PhD in astronomy, planetary science, or a
related field. The appointments will be for up to a total of 3 years.
Opportunities for research visits at Harvard University/CfA are part of
these appointments.

Candidates should send a pdf file containing their application
materials, including CV, publication list and a brief statement of
research interests to by Sept. 15 2010. 3
letters of reference should be sent separately to the same e-mail
address. Applications after Sept 15 will be considered until positions
are filled. Positions are available staring October 2010 but may be
delayed for up to 9 months for exceptional candidates.

The "Extrasolar Planet Characterization" group at MPIA is a
cross-disciplinary endeavor, pursuing a wide range of astrophysical and
planetary science research, encompassing observing programs, instrument
development and theoretical modeling. Collaboration with other research
groups at MPIA, e.g. Star and Planet Formation, imaging and spectroscopy
at LBT/VLT, instrument development teams for ELT/JWST as well as
planetary science research departments at the University of Heidelberg
is encouraged.

Included Benefits:
The MPIA provides funds for computing, publications, travel, etc.
Benefits include health insurance for you and your dependents. The Max
Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer. Applications from
women, disabled people and minority groups are particularly welcome. The
MPIA supports its employees in their search for suitable child care,
visa issues etc.

9. Joliot-Curie Fellowship for Women
From: WIPHYS for Aug. 10, 2010

The Faculty of Science at the Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands)
is pleased to offer several tenure track fellowships to talented young
women with outstanding potential in the field of physics and
astronomy. Fellows are encouraged to launch their own independent
research program at one of the faculty's research institutes and
are expected to publish in high-profile journals, attract their own
external funding and contribute to the teaching programs. 

There are also several exciting positions available with the American
Physical Society. Check them out at

And find more jobs at the APS Career Center at

10. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

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11. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN

Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.


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