Our Lives as Women in Physical Sciences

The UCI ADVANCE program sponsored a forum for all women graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the School of Physical Sciences entitled "Our Lives as Women in Physical Sciences" on March 4, 2005. A panel of four senior women faculty from Physical Sciences gave a short introduction of themselves and their career paths and then moderated an open discussion with the audience. The panel members were Professor Barbara Finlayson-Pitts (Chemistry), Professor Ellen Druffel (Earth Systems Science), Professor Chuu-Lian Terng (Mathematics) and Professor Tammy Smecker-Hane (Physics & Astronomy).  With the email invitation that was sent out to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, we sent two relevant, recent articles published in the Washington Post to stimulate thought and discussion.  The first was an article entitled "Raise Your Hand If You're A Woman in Science..." (Washington Post, Jan 29, 2005) by Virginia Valian, a professor of psychology and linguistics at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York and the author of the well-known book "Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women". The second was entitled "Diminished By Discrimination We Scarcely See" (Washington Post, Feb 5, 2005) by Meg Urry, a professor of physics at Yale University and the director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Twenty-two women graduate students and postdoctoral scholars attended the forum. A lively discussion followed the introduction of the panel members. Excellent questions were raised and we include some of them below.  After the event, Dean Ron Stern encouraged the panel members to write down their responses and post them on the ADVANCE web site in order to create a lasting record for the benefit of future graduate students and postdoctoral scholars both at UCI and in the wider community.

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are invited to submit additional questions for posting on this web site. Simply email them to the ADVANCE Equity Adviser for Physical Sciences, which currently is Dr. Tammy Smecker-Hane (tsmecker@uci.edu).

Questions Raised at the Forum: