AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of January 11, 2013
eds. Caroline Simpson, Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, & Nick Murphy

This week's issues:

1. Child-friendly Sabbaticals

2. [More] On the Two-Body Problem

3. African-Americans in Astronomy and Space

4. Men are from Mars Earth, Women are from Venus Earth

5. Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the USA

6. Barriers to STEM for Underrepresented Students

7. Advancement of Graduate Studies in Chemistry

8. Want to Host a Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics?

9. Media Training at the 2013 APS March Meeting

10. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

12. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. Child-friendly Sabbaticals
From: Hanna via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I'm the kind of gal who likes to plan for the long haul. This is part of why
being a postdoc was so wearing, because I could never plan more than a couple of
years in advance.  Now that I have a tenure track position, I can daydream about
things like getting tenure, sending my kids off to college, retiring someday...
Okay, maybe not retirement quite yet.

Anyway, it occurred to me the other day, that someday I might want to go on
sabbatical somewhere. But how would that work, given my family situation?

To read more, please see


2. [More] On the Two-Body Problem
From: John Asher Johnson via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

In academia there is something called the "two-body problem." The original
two-body problem involves the gravitational interaction between two massive
bodies, e.g. a planet orbiting a star. This is a problem in the mathematical
sense, as in something interesting about the universe that we would like to
figure out. This classical two-body problem has a solution, but interestingly it
is in the form of a transcendental equation that can only be solved numerically.
But when done so, it looks like this..

Pretty nice, huh?

To read the rest, please see


3. African-Americans in Astronomy and Space
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

In celebration of Black History Month, Nick Greene compiled a sampling list of
black history biographies in astronomy and space expiration, including links to
pictures, books, and puzzles.  To see this unique mix of men and women, please


4. Men are from Mars Earth, Women are from Venus Earth

From:  Nancy Morrison [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]

Here is a very interesting press release on a forthcoming psychological study on
gender differences, first seen in a tweet from UK science administrator Athene
Donald (@AtheneDonald). This ties right in with an article in the forthcoming
issue of our newsletter, STATUS.

'For decades, popular writers have entertained readers with the premise that men
and women are so psychologically dissimilar they could hail from entirely
different planets. But a new study shows that it's time for the Mars/Venus
theories about the sexes to come back to Earth.

'From empathy and sexuality to science inclination and extroversion, statistical
analysis of 122 different characteristics involving 13,301 individuals shows
that men and women, by and large, do not fall into different groups. In other
words, no matter how strange and inscrutable your partner may seem, their gender
is probably only a small part of the problem.

'"People think about the sexes as distinct categories," says Harry Reis,
professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and a co-author on the
study to be published in the February issue of the Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology. "'Boy or girl?' is the first question parents are asked about
their newborn, and sex persists through life as the most pervasive
characteristic used to distinguish categories among humans."

'But the handy dichotomy often falls apart under statistical scrutiny, says lead
author Bobbi Carothers, who completed the study as part of her doctoral
dissertation at Rochester ...'

To read more:


5. Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the USA
From: Gerrit Verschuur [verschuur_at_aol.com]

Girls outperformed boys in more countries in a science test given to 15-year-old
students in 65 countries but in the United States, the scores reverse.  Cultural
forces that keep girls away from scientific careers are strong in the USA,
Britain, and Canada but far less so in Russia, Asia, and the Middle East.  To
read more, please see:


Another perspective on the same topic, although more in-depth, can be found here:


6. Barriers to STEM for Underrepresented Student
From:  Caroline Smpson [simpson_at_fiu.edu]

Here is an anecdotal (although, first-hand) article that provides concrete
examples of known barriers to STEM for underrepresented high school students:


7.  Advancement of Graduate Studies in Chemistry
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

James Ulvestad, NSF, suggests this study on graduate education in chemistry may
be of considerable interest to the AAS. Many parallels can be found to the
trends and issues seen in astronomy, as well as a number of suggested
actions.  To read the report, please see:


8. Want to Host the Next Undergraduate Women in Physics Conference?
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

Applications are due next week for institutions interested in hosting one of the
next Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP).  The conferences are
held over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in mid-January of following
years.  Institutions can apply to host either the 2014 or 2015 conference.

To learn more and to apply, please see


9.  Media Training at the 2013 APS March Meeting
From: WIPHYS February 6, 2013

A media workshop titled "Distilling Your Message" includes instruction and
practice in clear, oral communication.  The workshop also includes knowing your
audience and avoiding jargon and emphasizing meaning rather than technicalities.
Training is tentatively scheduled form 3 to 6 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 17, at
the Baltimore Convention Center. Following the workshop, opportunities for
writing op-eds and, possibly, taping video science stories will be available.

To participate, email Tawanda Johnson by Feb. 8 at tjohnson_at_aps.org.

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