Reflections of a Female Astronomer <ul><li>Jocelyn Bell Burnell </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford University Astrophysics </li></ul...
Second ICWES <ul><li>Cambridge UK </li></ul><ul><li>Summer 1967 (66?) </li></ul><ul><li>New Hall College </li></ul><ul><li...
Typical working conditions for a PhD Student! 2048 antennae (81.5 MHz), 1000+ wooden posts, 120 miles wire and cable, area...
The 4.5 acre *  radio telescope ( * 2.5 football pitches)
Data analysis <ul><li>No computer </li></ul><ul><li>Output on chart paper </li></ul><ul><li>100’ (30m) / day </li></ul><ul...
Pulsars (pulsating radio stars) today <ul><li>Star spins like a lighthouse, sweeping radio beam around the sky. </li></ul>...
Pulsar (PSR) parameters  <ul><li>Mass 10 27  tonnes (1.4 – 2.0 M Sun ) </li></ul><ul><li>R =12 km  </li></ul><ul><li>1.4 m...
Reactions to the discovery
Astronomy today <ul><li>A high-tech branch of modern physics </li></ul><ul><li>Attracts people to science </li></ul><ul><l...
WOMEN IN ASTRONOMY AROUND THE WORLD
International Astronomical Union – countries with   100 members All member countries: 15% female Country % delegation  fe...
Cautions <ul><li>Membership is for tenured astronomers (so larger numbers of younger women are not counted) </li></ul><ul>...
So..... <ul><li>Latin America and S. Europe have high % female </li></ul><ul><li>N. Europe and the English-speaking countr...
WOMEN IN PHYSICS IN UNITED KINGDOM
Women in SET today in UK <ul><li>Numbers are growing, % improving </li></ul><ul><li>slowly! Largest increases at u/g (p/g)...
Some data <ul><li>Physics (and astronomy) undergraduates in the UK are  20 - 25% female (30% in astro) </li></ul><ul><li>A...
Sensing the ambiance  <ul><li>Women are the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ </li></ul><ul><li>More sensitive to the friendline...
Summary <ul><li>Shortage of women in senior positions could be due to one or several of: </li></ul><ul><li>Too few enterin...
Progress is slow! <ul><li>Many recent studies (Europe, N America) </li></ul><ul><li>Many similar recommendations </li></ul...
‘ Women as deficient’ <ul><li>Many programmes to get more women into science assume that it is women who need to change. <...
Good for all... <ul><li>Good management benefits all, but seems to benefit women more. </li></ul><ul><li>Bad management af...
My experience <ul><li>It has been other women who (too often) asked “Are you  sure  you want to do physics?” </li></ul><ul...
Family life <ul><li>Got married as I finished the PhD – husband worked in Local Government.  </li></ul><ul><li>He moved jo...
Another woman’s reaction <ul><li>“ You’ve got a husband, a new baby and a new house and you say you’re bored – what’s wron...
Woman scientist <ul><li>Often the most senior female in the place. </li></ul><ul><li>No role model or mentor </li></ul><ul...
Conclusions <ul><li>For women.......... </li></ul><ul><li>Stories are very powerful – tell the stories. </li></ul><ul><li>...
The End
Afterword <ul><li>Well behaved women rarely make history  . </li></ul><ul><li>Laurel Thatcher Ulrich </li></ul>
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ICWES 15 Keynote Address: Reflection of a Female Astronomer. Presented by Dame Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Oxford University, President, Society of Physics, United Kingdom

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ICWES15 Conference Keynote Address delivered by Dame Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Oxford University, President, Society of Physics, United Kingdom

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ICWES 15 Keynote Address: Reflection of a Female Astronomer. Presented by Dame Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Oxford University, President, Society of Physics, United Kingdom

  1. 1. Reflections of a Female Astronomer <ul><li>Jocelyn Bell Burnell </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford University Astrophysics </li></ul><ul><li>& </li></ul><ul><li>Mansfield College </li></ul>
  2. 2. Second ICWES <ul><li>Cambridge UK </li></ul><ul><li>Summer 1967 (66?) </li></ul><ul><li>New Hall College </li></ul><ul><li>Radio astronomy observatory </li></ul><ul><li>Doughty, kindly </li></ul>
  3. 3. Typical working conditions for a PhD Student! 2048 antennae (81.5 MHz), 1000+ wooden posts, 120 miles wire and cable, area 2.5 football pitches
  4. 4. The 4.5 acre * radio telescope ( * 2.5 football pitches)
  5. 5. Data analysis <ul><li>No computer </li></ul><ul><li>Output on chart paper </li></ul><ul><li>100’ (30m) / day </li></ul><ul><li>400’ (120m)/sky scan </li></ul><ul><li>3.3 miles (5.3km) total </li></ul>
  6. 6. Pulsars (pulsating radio stars) today <ul><li>Star spins like a lighthouse, sweeping radio beam around the sky. </li></ul><ul><li>We see a pulse each time beam sweeps across us. </li></ul><ul><li>Each pulsar has its own flash rate and pattern of flashes </li></ul>
  7. 7. Pulsar (PSR) parameters <ul><li>Mass 10 27 tonnes (1.4 – 2.0 M Sun ) </li></ul><ul><li>R =12 km </li></ul><ul><li>1.4 ms < P rot < 10 s </li></ul><ul><li>10 -12 > dP/dt > 10 -21 ; serve as clocks for experimental relativity </li></ul><ul><li>Magnetic field B = 10 8 Tesla </li></ul><ul><li>Neutron-rich material – neutron stars </li></ul>
  8. 8. Reactions to the discovery
  9. 9. Astronomy today <ul><li>A high-tech branch of modern physics </li></ul><ul><li>Attracts people to science </li></ul><ul><li>Drives industry/technology </li></ul><ul><li>Provides training in modern skills </li></ul><ul><li>Vehicle for Development </li></ul>
  10. 10. WOMEN IN ASTRONOMY AROUND THE WORLD
  11. 11. International Astronomical Union – countries with  100 members All member countries: 15% female Country % delegation female √ N error Argentina 37 5 Ukraine 27 3 Italy 25 3 France 24 2 Brazil 23 3 Spain 18 2 Mexico 17 4 Russian Fed 17 2 Greece 16 4 China 15 2 Australia 15 3 Country % delegation female √ N error Belgium 15 4 Poland 13 3 Sweden 13 4 Canada 12 2 USA 12 1 UK 12 2 Netherlands 12 2 S Korea 10 3 Germany 10 1 India 8 2 Japan 6 1
  12. 12. Cautions <ul><li>Membership is for tenured astronomers (so larger numbers of younger women are not counted) </li></ul><ul><li>You have to be nominated by your country’s astronomical society – women may be more often overlooked </li></ul><ul><li>Data from: www.iau.org/administration/membership/ </li></ul><ul><li>individual/distribution/ </li></ul>
  13. 13. So..... <ul><li>Latin America and S. Europe have high % female </li></ul><ul><li>N. Europe and the English-speaking countries have low % female </li></ul><ul><li>Limiting factor is culture , not women’s brains </li></ul><ul><li>Similar distributions for physics, maths... </li></ul>
  14. 14. WOMEN IN PHYSICS IN UNITED KINGDOM
  15. 15. Women in SET today in UK <ul><li>Numbers are growing, % improving </li></ul><ul><li>slowly! Largest increases at u/g (p/g) level </li></ul><ul><li>Issues around work-life, family-career to be addressed </li></ul><ul><li>More subtle issues around ‘climate’ in the work-place to be addressed </li></ul>
  16. 16. Some data <ul><li>Physics (and astronomy) undergraduates in the UK are 20 - 25% female (30% in astro) </li></ul><ul><li>About 15% of all physics staff are female </li></ul><ul><li>Physics Professors </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1991: from 1 to 2 female </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2005: about 24 female </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Today: about 40 female (about 7%) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Sensing the ambiance <ul><li>Women are the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ </li></ul><ul><li>More sensitive to the friendliness of a place </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of (the success of) women may imply an issue that needs attention. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Summary <ul><li>Shortage of women in senior positions could be due to one or several of: </li></ul><ul><li>Too few entering </li></ul><ul><li>Too many leaving </li></ul><ul><li>Too slow progress </li></ul><ul><li>It seems that all these are true </li></ul>
  19. 19. Progress is slow! <ul><li>Many recent studies (Europe, N America) </li></ul><ul><li>Many similar recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>But progress is slow (glacial!) – even is subjects where >50% of undergraduate class is female </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Society of Edinburgh study </li></ul>
  20. 20. ‘ Women as deficient’ <ul><li>Many programmes to get more women into science assume that it is women who need to change. </li></ul><ul><li>Why should women do all the changing? </li></ul><ul><li>Science should move towards women as much as women change, move towards it. </li></ul><ul><li>Long term, ‘climate’ of science needs to change. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Good for all... <ul><li>Good management benefits all, but seems to benefit women more. </li></ul><ul><li>Bad management affects all, but seems to affect women more. </li></ul><ul><li>Poor physics teaching seems to affect girls more </li></ul>
  22. 22. My experience <ul><li>It has been other women who (too often) asked “Are you sure you want to do physics?” </li></ul><ul><li>Women are the custodians of what is proper for women </li></ul><ul><li>In a male-dominated area, men determine whether or not women advance </li></ul>
  23. 23. Family life <ul><li>Got married as I finished the PhD – husband worked in Local Government. </li></ul><ul><li>He moved jobs every 7 years or so, to get promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Son born 4 – 5 years later </li></ul><ul><li>Few child-minding facilities as </li></ul><ul><li>mothers not expected to work </li></ul>
  24. 24. Another woman’s reaction <ul><li>“ You’ve got a husband, a new baby and a new house and you say you’re bored – what’s wrong with you?” </li></ul><ul><li>Previous generations of women did not expect to have careers outside home </li></ul><ul><li>Subsequent generations do </li></ul><ul><li>My generation at the turning point </li></ul>
  25. 25. Woman scientist <ul><li>Often the most senior female in the place. </li></ul><ul><li>No role model or mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Had to play the men at their own game </li></ul><ul><li>Has it turned me into a ‘wee man’, or a ‘shemale’ </li></ul><ul><li>Can one remain true to one’s own gender and succeed in a male world? </li></ul>
  26. 26. Conclusions <ul><li>For women.......... </li></ul><ul><li>Stories are very powerful – tell the stories. </li></ul><ul><li>For all of us.......... </li></ul><ul><li>Improve management </li></ul><ul><li>Affirm women as women; don’t expect them to be ‘wee men’ or ‘she males’. </li></ul>
  27. 27. The End
  28. 28. Afterword <ul><li>Well behaved women rarely make history . </li></ul><ul><li>Laurel Thatcher Ulrich </li></ul>

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