AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of June 29, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery
[This week's guest editor is Daryl Haggard. Daryl is a postdoctoral fellow in
the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics
(CIERA) at Northwestern University. She studies AGN and their host galaxies,
accreting compact binaries, and accretion-driven outflows using multi-wavelength
and time domain surveys.]
This week's issues:
1. Janet Luhmann Wins Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Award
2. The Ongoing Struggle to Balance Work and Career
3. My Daughter's Experience with Math and Science
4. "Science: It's a Girl Thing" (Just Add Lipstick)
5. Science it's a Girl Thing - FAIL?
6. Survey of Job/Career Satisfaction
7. Google Doodles, Lack of Gender Diversity
8. Acing the Physics GRE
9. Job Opportunities
10. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter
11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter
12. Access to Past Issues
1.  Janet Luhmann Wins Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Award
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Space Science Award for outstanding
contributions to space science will be presented to Dr. Janet Luhmann during the
39th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, 14 - 22 July 2012, Mysore, India
Dr. Luhmann is a Senior Fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory of the
University of California Berkeley and the Principal Investigator of the IMPACT
suite of instruments on the twin spacecraft STEREO mission. Following her Ph. D.
in Astronomy from the University of Maryland, she joined the particles and
Fields Department of the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo California. In 1980
she joined the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University
of California, Los Angeles, moving to her current position in Berkeley in 1994.
Janet Luhmann started her career in cosmic ray physics, both observation and
theory; at Aerospace she moved into studies of the X-ray fluxes from the Earth’s
atmosphere; at UCLA she expanded into radar studies of the Earth’s Upper
Atmosphere and in parallel the interaction of the solar wind with Venus
completely changing the paradigms in both fields. From Venus it was a short hop
to Mars where she showed how dust storms lead to ionospheric changes due to
heating of the upper atmosphere. At Berkeley she moved deeper into the origin of
interplanetary disturbances and the structure of the coronal magnetic field as
well as leading the development and integration of the IMPACT sensor suite for
the STEREO mission, all the while keeping up with her growing interests in the
outer planets, especially the study of the interaction of the Saturnian
magnetosphere with its moon, Titan, using data from the Cassini mission.
Currently in addition to STEREO and Cassini she is studying Venus Express
observations and helping prepare the Mars mission, Maven, for its upcoming
investigation of the Martian upper atmosphere. She has been a regular
contributor to the scientific exchanges of COSPAR Commissions B, C, D, and E for
over 30 years and has chaired important panels and committees for the American
Geophysical Union, the US National Academy, NASA and IAGA.
Congratulations, Janet!
2. The Ongoing Struggle to Balance Work and Career
From: Michele Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]
The NPR Diane Rehm show put the spotlight on 'The Ongoing Struggle to Balance
Career and Family' in the 10 am EST hour show on Monday, June 25, 2012. Both men
and women contributed to the discussion on the struggles families have today in
the United States to achieve work, career, and family, including a comment on
how the United States is still one of the last civilized countries to not have
paid maternity leave. To see their comments, guest speaker bio-briefs, and
related links, please see
3.  My Daughter's Experience with Math and Science
From: Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com
[This week's guest blogger is Neil Gehrels. Neil is Chief of the Astroparticle
Physics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He is Principal
Investigator of NASA's Swift observatory and Deputy Project Scientist for the
Fermi observatory. He received his Ph.D. in physics at Caltech in 1981. His
research interest is in exploding objects in the universe such as gamma-ray
bursts and supernovae.]
There were a few minutes of "meet the speaker" time before a talk I gave this
Spring and a question came up about how my kids felt growing up with scientist
parents. "Well, my daughter liked science in grade school ... ". I could hear
the audience groan, anticipating a story of teen peer pressure turning her in a
different direction. It was really a nice moment when the rest of the answer
didn't go that way. "I'm happy to say that she pursued that interest through
school years and is now a graduate student in physics."
Here is the story of Emily. My wife, Ellen, and I are both physicists and our
oldest offspring, Tom, was a kid who liked math and gadgets from day one. Emily
was born into a geek family for sure, and we may have even over-reacted to not
pressure her in that direction. She played with dolls, loved pink and had
regular friends in the neighborhood. She was a smart kid, but didn't fiddle as
much with numbers and puzzles as her brother. She liked people issues and was a
drama queen. One day at age 4, after a small argument with her mother, she left
a note: "Bay Mom, I am gon". She had run away from home dragging a suitcase down
the block.

We quickly found her, and later laughed at the memory. We certainly enjoyed the
diversity in our house.
To read more:
4.  "Science: It's a Girl Thing" (Just Add Lipstick)
From: Daryl Haggard via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com
[This week featured another guest blogger, Daryl Haggard, who is also guest
editing this week's AASWOMEN Newsletter. Daryl's brief bio is included above.]
The European Commission on Research and Innovation released an incendiary video
this week:
It was intended to attract young women (teens and pre-teens) to the sciences.
Instead it elicited backlash across nations -- the video has subsequently been
removed from the EU's "Science: It's a Girl Thing" webpage:
The other videos on this website, of real female scientists, are wonderful and
paint an honest and realistic picture of what we "look" like and what we do.
To read more:
5. Science it's a Girl Thing - FAIL?
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]
[There's a thoughtful discussion with Astronomer Dr. Meghan Gray about the EU's
video and campaign on YouTube. -Eds]
Watch it here:
6. Survey of Job/Career Satisfaction
From: Lynne Hillenbrand [lah_at_astro.caltech.edu]
This survey seems worth publicizing to AASWomen as it is directed towards the
postdoctoral and junior permanent demographic with a "US" check-box even though
it is led in Germany/Europe.
Dear Colleagues (RAS Points of Contact),
The RAS Committee for Women in Astronomy and Geophysics (CWiAG) is supporting a
project led by Christiane Helling (St Andrews) and Janine Fohlmeister
(Heidelberg) that will investigate UK careers in astronomy. As part of this,
they are conducting a survey with a particular focus on whether issues like
gender and parenting have an effect on career prospects. CWiAG is extremely
interested in the survey results that will be compared with a similar exercise
carried out in Germany (you can see a preprint of their paper on ‘The career
situation of female astronomers in Germany’ in Astronomische Nachrichten at
We would be very grateful if you could circulate this request and encourage
members of your group to complete the survey. It sits on a single web page and
is mostly made up of multiple choice options so should not take that long to
fill in.
The link to the survey is
and respondents need to enter 'Neptun' in the Losung (password) box.
Many thanks for your help,
Dr Robert Massey
Deputy Executive Secretary
Royal Astronomical Society
7. Google Doodles, Lack of Gender Diversity
From: Ann Martin [amartin10_at_gmail.com]
If you're familiar with Google Doodles, the periodic special logos that replace
the typical Google logo for a day, you might also be familiar with a nagging
feeling that women aren't exactly getting their fair share of recognition. You
would be right. From 2008 to June 20th, 2012, the United States Google homepage
has displayed 78 Doodles honoring individuals, and only 7 of those have honored
women. If you count up the Doodles that Google has posted globally, the numbers
increase to 285 total Doodles and just 36 representing women. That's 9% here in
the U.S., and only 12% worldwide.
I first noticed this when I was a graduate student in astronomy at Cornell
University; my officemates and I would often comment on our perception that
Doodles weren't exactly representative, but I don't think we realized the
situation was quite as bad as it really is. After graduating, I started my blog,
Speaking Up (http://speakingupforus.wordpress.com), with an Open Letter to the
Doodles team in the hope of getting Google to notice and address this issue. The
blog tracks the statistics of the Google Doodles gender distribution and
highlights Doodle-worthy women. This week marks the midpoint in 2012, and this
benchmark reminds me that while 50% of the year has gone by, we still don't see
anything approaching 50% representation of women's accomplishments in Google
Doodles. To acknowledge this benchmark and to try to bring some more attention
to the gender disparity and its solutions, Speaking Up will be hosting a special
series of posts this week, called The Midpoint Series. I'll be featuring special
content and lots of guest posts - including several from my colleagues in
astronomy - highlighting more and more Doodle Worthy Women and their amazing
achievements. I'm also going to provide an up-to-date spreadsheet and new
graphics showing the statistics on Google Doodles in the U.S. and around the
To kick off the 2012 Midpoint Series, I've posted a new open letter to Google
and the Doodles team. Throughout the week, lots of new content will be coming
up; you can track all of that on the 2012 Midpoint Series page
I'd love for you to check out the blog, see what we're doing, and think about
the Doodle-worthy women on YOUR list. The Midpoint benchmark is a great
opportunity to call some attention to the sad state of gender representation in
Google Doodles, so please take a look and help us spread the message!
8. Acing the Physics GRE
From: WIPHYS, June 26, 2012
[This is a worthwhile item to pass on to your student advisees, who may be
approaching this academic hurtle in the coming year. -Eds]
Free webinar on July 17, 3-4pm ET
Many physics students are intimidated by the prospect of taking the physics GRE
subject exam. What should you expect? How should you prepare? Which strategies
will give you the best edge on the exam? In this interactive webinar, GRE prep.
course leader Jeremy Dodd will describe the content and format of the Physics
GRE subject test provide advice and tips on how best to prepare for the test,
and offer test-taking strategies. Arlene Modeste-Knowles, APS Diversity Programs
Administrator, will moderate the discussion.
To learn more or to register:
9. Job Opportunities
      * AURA: Sr. Systems Engineer - LSST - Job #12-0097
      * AURA: Education Outreach Assistant - NOAO - Job #12-0068
      * AURA: Optical System Engineer - ATST - Job #12-0022
      * AURA: Pipeline Support Analyst - NOAO - Job #12-0099
        (Current NOAO employees only)
      Details for the AURA positions are available here:
      * Assistant Director of Research, Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics
and Engineering Research, Baylor University
      * Assistant Research Faculty, Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and
Engineering Research, Baylor University
      Details for the Baylor positions are here:
      * Terrestrial Scientist, Army Research Office
      * Atmospheric Scientist, Army Research Office
10.  How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter
To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send
email to aaswomen_at_aas.org
All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email
Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.
11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter
Join AAS Women List by email:
Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back to the email list)
To unsubscribe by email:
Join or leave AASWomen, or change your membership settings:
You will have to create a Google Account if you do not already have one, using
Google Groups Subscribe Help:
Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.
12.  Access to Past Issues
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.