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Katherine Johnson: Meet the Woman Who Did the Calculations for the First Moon Landing

None of the other women had ever asked questions before, but by asking questions, Johnson began to stand out. She was told that women didn’t participate in the briefings or attend meetings; she asked if there were a law against it. The answer, of course, was no, and so Johnson began to attend briefings.
At a time of rampant racism, a time when women were excluded from many jobs, Katherine Johnston, an African-American physicist, was laying the foundation for the Space Age...
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+Víktor Bautista i Roca If you mean Luna 9, it marked the first "soft" landing and had no Soviets in it. There were other Soviet and American probes that crash landed before this. This is not the point of this post, however. 
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Emmy Noether: A Birthday Tribute.
Happy birthday Emmy Noether

Today we commemorate the birthday of Amalie Emmy Noether. Emmy Noether was born to a Jewish family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen; her father was mathematician Max Noether. Emmy originally planned to teach French and English after passing the required examinations, but instead studied mathematics at the University of Erlangen, where her father lectured. She is renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. She revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras, and top notch pioneers in their fields such as Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Jean Dieudonné, Hermann Weyl, et al. described her as the most important woman in the history of mathematics.
In my opinion, in physics the most important discovery of her's is the one-to-one correspondence between continuous symmetries on one side and conserved quantities on the other side -- Noether's theorem. It is a deep physical insight whose origin and meaning became clear later in quantum mechanics, where conserved quantities generate the symmetry transformations. Now, you may have thought many a times as to what is "Energy". The answer lies in Noether's theorem. The time evolution in quantum mechanics is governed by the Hamiltonian trough the time evolution operator U= exp (iHt). Noether's theorem again show us that there is a relationship between Energy (Through the Hamiltonian) and system's time evolution. Or in other words, Noether's theorem guarantees that there's a number that's conserved whenever there's time translational symmetry, or in other words the quantity whose conservation law can be derived from the time-translation symmetry is referred to as energy. From spatial translations, one obtains the momentum; from spatial rotations, one can derive the components of the angular momentum; Galilean or Lorentz symmetries are linked to the constant velocity of the center of mass, so on and so forth. Here's a note I wrote on Noether's theorem. 
Around 1915 when David Hilbert and Felix Klein wanted her to be a Privatdozent in Göttingen, there was some opposition. A female teacher would be viewed as a humiliating experience for the chauvinistic society! However, she spent four years lecturing under Hilbert's name. Her habilitation was approved in 1919, allowing her to obtain the rank of Privatdozent. Noether was an excellent teacher and never claimed credit for work she wouldn't deserve. Unfortunately one of her students, Werner Weber, later helped Adolf Hitler to get rid of her in 1933. She moved to Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Even there she had to face the "prevalent" male chauvinism.
Contributions and Publications by Emmy Noether:
A very good article on Emmy Noether from Wikipedia (This happens to be today's featured article in Wikipedia): Noether's application for admission to the University of Erlangen and three curricula vitae. The first of these is in Emmy Noether's own handwriting (In German):
Some memories of Noether: Here's an important paper showing the importance of Noether's work:
And, here's translation of Noether's Theorems in English:
Sadly, male chauvinism still exists in many parts of the world, because of which many potential "could be" Noether are denied education. And its a matter of shame that Noether was also a victim of sexism, like many others. In spite of that, against all odds, she made remarkable contributions in the "magnanimous" world of Mathematics, and Theoretical Physics.
Image Courtesy: Pioneering Women Of Physics

#EmmyNoether #mathematics   #physics   #happybirthday  
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Jason Manriquez's profile photoMy Sin's profile photoFabiana Bueno's profile photoAnthony Manson's profile photo
She taught in Private she thaught every knew what she was doing
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Petition: Commitment to Gender Equity at Conferences
Research shows that most academic conferences do not equally represent women, especially minority women, with most keynote speakers and panels dominated by men (and White men specifically in Western societies). Women's inclusion is an issue, as is our access and participation during conferences. In many disciplines, women are less likely to be presenters and they are also less likely to be called on to ask questions during sessions. Conferences are one of the key vehicles for sharing scholarly knowledge and collaboration, which is why gender inclusion and diversity matters. Over 600 scholars have already signed this call for gender equality at conferences. Lend your support via the link below.

If you'd like to know more on this issue, see our STEM Women interview with Professor +Jonathan Eisen who shares practical advice about how to address conference inequality:

Jonathan uses the tag #YAMMM  (Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting) to publicly request that conference organisers be more gender inclusive.  He has also protested by ensuring his keynote speeches prominently feature women researchers. Read more on our post: 

HT @PaolaElefante on Twitter:  #stemwomen   #stem  
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+Carolyn Stampeen +Heather Coles Think you know what you're getting at here. When women are invited as keynotes, they are usually talking about what it's like to be a woman in the field. This is an important conversation to have, and we should have it often, but this should not be the only reason women are invited to speak. Women keynotes should speak about their expertise alongside other speakers without having to explain gender issues. Panels about how to better support women in STEM should also happen at conferences, and be given prominent time and space, but if that's the only place women are speaking, there's a major problem!
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Marilyn and the Monty Hall Problem

..Though her answer was correct, she received over 10,000 letters, many from noted scholars and Ph.Ds, informing her that she was a hare-brained idiot.
A fascinating account of how (mostly male) academics, engineers, scientists wrote in with some nasty and very condescending letters to criticize Marilyn vos Savant's explanation of the Monty Hall problem. Many people assume that when one of the doors is opened,  that your chances are now 50/50. But they are actually have a 2/3 chance of winning if you switch doors after the first one is opened. She was correct, but hundreds of people derided her for using "female logic"...
In 1990, Marilyn vos Savant correctly answered a probability puzzle in her column for Parade Magazine. And then, the world called her an idiot.
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Is she a Savant????
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Death by a Thousand Cuts

+Kristin Milton 's guest post for +STEM Women on G+ focuses on the “many little cuts” that women in STEM face in their daily work. Do people assume you are a guy if you comment on a tech issue online? Does your boss use sports analogies that you are expected to understand? Tell us about your experience with #everydaysexism  in STEM. 

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BigGoog assumed I was male based on my search profiles on my work computer.
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The Most Important Scientist in My Life: My Mom
New on our blog! Computational physicist +Jonah Miller interviews his mother, Dr Arleen Miller, about her experiences getting a STEM degree in the 1970s. Her dissertation was focused on mathematical outcomes of girls and boys. She also shares her experiences of teaching mathematics in Sierra Leone. She says her biggest challenge in her teaching career was inspiring children to move away from memorising equations and to "Get them out of the habit of 'there’s only one way to solve a problem.'" Dr Miller says about her own love of maths:

"Because I was good at math and it was fun for me, and biology is fascinating, so I put the two together... [Maths] it's kind of like a puzzle. It’s a challenge and you know the answer is there somewhere…and there’s often more than one way to get the answer, which lets you be creative."

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#stemwomen   #mathematics   #stem   #stemeducation  
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+STEM Women on G+ great quote and post.
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Bridging the Gender Gap in Technology
+globalfundforwomen CEO, Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, explains the online multimedia project IGNITE: Women Fuelling Science and Technology. Dr Kanyoro notes that by the end of 2013, "only 40% of the world’s population has access to the Internet.... with an estimated 200 million fewer women than men online in 2014." This gender gap could grow by 350 million within three years if left unchecked.

Dr Kanyoro argues that the gender gap in technology matters because it lessen's women's access and participation in education and public life. Her organisation is working to change the idea that women are only “consumers” of tech. Women are also creators and innovators:

"By limiting the participation of women and girls in science and technology, we too often limit ourselves to only half of the world’s ideas. Bringing women online and embracing their leadership and ideas will not only help bring gender parity, it will have a global economic impact. Recent studies have estimated that 600 million additional women and girls online could boost GDP by up to USD $18 million."

IGNITE is running the #BeTheSpark campaign for tech women and girls to share their stories. They also have profiles on historical and contemporary women in STEM. Teachers and others can access an online toolkit to promote women in tech.

Quote: Image: #stemwomen #womenintech
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+Malthus John From what I can see IGNITE is another promotional aspect of Dr Kanyoro's general out-reach, awareness and funding system. IGNITE seems to be kind of an art project designed to promote the Global Women's Fund (like many of her projects).

While I'm 100% in favor of women getting not just better opportunities but also special equalizing opportunities when I've glanced at Global Women's Fund it's difficult at first to see "this is exactly what we do" in practical terms. There's plenty of stuff promoting women's equality -- all of it nice to see.

A big thing is that the organization seems to be first and foremost a global outreach for awareness. But they do provide funding for girls/women:

IGNITE I believe is there mostly to be inspirational.
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The "S" in STEM: Dr Marie Maynard Daly
Marie Maynard Daly conducted ground-breaking research on the impact of cholesterol and sugars on heart disease, as well as examining the circulatory system and hypertension in advanced age. Towards the end of her career, she examined how proteins are produced and organised in the cell.

Today she is remembered for being the first Black American woman to be awarded a PhD in Chemistry in the United States, in 1947, but her legacy is more profound, both in terms of her scientific achievements, and her work in promoting diversity in STEM.

Dr Daly graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor degree in Chemistry in 1942; she completed her Master's degree in one year; and her PhD in 3 years.

In 1988, Dr Daly also established a scholarship for African American science students at Queens College. The fund honours of her father who was a strong supporter of her education and career, and who was forced by economic circumstances to drop out of Cornell University, where he was studying chemistry.

"Enzymes are complicated and indispensable molecules, whose importance lies within their ability to speed up chemical reactions, and to regulate nearly every biochemical process in the bodies of living organisms. Countless scientists spent years researching those intricate molecules - amongst others, one of the most prominent was Marie Maynard Daly....

Marie Maynard Daly conducted important research projects, which clarified a variety of mechanisms happening in human bodies despite all the problems she had to overcome, whether it was race or gender bias, or her lack of money. Her research and studies, aimed at a wide range of subjects, provided an important base for next generations of scientists."

Quote and image: Learn more: #stemwomen #stemheroines #woc
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What a wonderful find. Thanks for posting this!
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Aerospace Engineer Professor Anita Sengupta
Sitting in a conference hearing a male colleague speak about the mentors who'd supported his career, +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Professor Anita Sengupta realised that, as one of the few women in her field, she'd never had this type of support.

"I sat there thinking, I've been working here for 10 years, and I never had that... I’m also a professor at +University of Southern California,  and there are very few female professors in hard science and engineering fields. So, there aren’t enough female role models girls can look up to and feel like this kind of thing is normal. It’s a huge detractor. There aren’t enough role models pulling girls in."

On +Fast Company, Professor Sengupta also talks about being from a migrant family and drawing support from her parents. She is developing the International Space Station Cold Atom Lab.

Thanks to Dr +Bill Carter for sharing this article. He said on his original post: "I feel like a broken record about these issues. Bears repeating: We need the best and brightest doing science and engineering. No excuses." Hear, hear!

#stemwomen   #engineering   #aerospace   #stem   #science   #steminspire  
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Great comments +Pauline Yu! Dr +Inger Mewburn's research also backs this up. Women in general have greater difficulty navigating problems with supervisors, yet supervisors go out of their way to help male postgraduate students, including in finding work. Effectively, we might see that men are more likely to get mentoring without seeking it out. Women don't know the "back channels" to getting help from supervisors because they have faced so many other issues along their education. ( Supervisors need to understand this gender dynamic and actively help women, even if it means finding them a separate mentor (though as you note, a supervisory relationship should ideally involve mentoring!).
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Leaky Pipeline in Tech

"They're [things that are] so small you'd never even complain about them," Percival said. "But they happen day after day. They're the kind of things that separate and exclude you from the team and make you say, 'Hey, is this the right career path for me?'" 

One example: Google's own data showed women were promoted less often than men because workers need to nominate themselves. Women who did so got pushback. Based on her studies, Williams found that women are rewarded for modesty and penalized for what men might see as "aggressive" behavior. Google began including female leaders at workshops to coach everyone — men and women — on how to promote themselves effectively. The gender difference among nominees disappeared, Williams said.
Not Good!
"A Harvard Business Review study from 2008 found that as many as 50% of women working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments."

Boys Club blocking women from reaching top level positions?
My recommendation: Start your own company, hire men for small jobs, hire women for top position, hire me as consultant. ㋡
#STEM   #womeninstem   #womeninscience  
Ana Redmond launched into a technology career for an exciting challenge and a chance to change the world. She was well-equipped to succeed too: An ambitious math and science wiz, she could code faster, with fewer errors, than anyone she knew.
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Hi +staysee tray Check out our STEM Women post on Nature Soapbox, where we address some of the ways to improve the "leaky pipeline."
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Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Beautifully animated video by +Reactions showing American STEM women whose contributions are largely unknown by the public. Rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan "single-handedly saved the American Space Program - and nobody knows it but a handful of old men." Chemist Alice Ball is responsible for the enhanced treatment of leprosy. African-American chemist Rachel Lloyd was the first woman to publish in a chemistry journal; she was the first American woman to receive a PhD in this field and the second in the world; and she was the first woman professor in a co-ed institution. 

Hosted by analytical chemist Dr Raychelle Burks!

HT +Josh Witten 
#stemwomen   #chemistry   #astronomy   #woc  
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Why Men Reject Research on Gender Bias in STEM
New research finds that 95% of negative comments about a study on gender bias in STEM were made by men.

Additional calculations by +Yonatan Zunger on the OP lends further support to the stark gender reactions to this research. Read on to see why this study can be useful in targeting sexism in STEM.
Sociology of Gender Bias in Science
A new study by Dr Corinne Moss-Racusin and colleagues has analysed comments by the public responding to a prominent study on gender bias in  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The researchers find that men are more likely to post negative comments in response to scientific evidence of sexism affecting women's science careers (

The researchers find that men are more likely to refute science findings using subjective observations about biology ("women get pregnant and leave their jobs!"). Or men otherwise evoke ideas of personal choice (men are "hungrier" for success and work harder than women). Men are also more likely to deny that inequality exists, or conversely they blamed women for inequality. Some also said that gender bias affects men more than women ("I've experienced it in the opposite way so far."). Men are also more likely to refute the science findings on inequality by stating that they work in STEM (75% of men's comments) and holding up their personal opinions as authoritative.

The key gender difference is that men use blanket statements and personal opinion to refute scientific evidence about gender bias, while women use personal anecdotes to illustrate the scientific findings. The first strategy - to deny the science on inequality - is used largely by men to invalidate science on sexism in support of the status quo. The other strategy, used mostly by women, supports the science using personal experiences of bias to challenge the status quo. The first approach rejects science evidence, while the other embraces it.

The researchers argue their study is positive as the majority of public's comments (754) supported the science. The researchers see that sharing science on inequality provides evidence to support change. At the same time, the fact that 95% of the negative comments were made by men is cause for concern, especially as they vehemently insulted, denied or blamed women for any inequality that might exist.

The study presents a useful framework for thinking about, and addressing, why men react negatively to the science of gender bias in STEM.

I have analysed some of my own experiences as one of three women moderators for +Science on Google+​, the largest science community on Google+. I show how the loudest and most persistent voices denying the science on gender bias are men. They tend to adopt two strategies, sometimes simultaneously. First they deny inequality exists, arguing social science methods are fundamentally flawed and cannot adequately measure bias. Second, they use other social science studies to refute inequality, saying inequality is rooted in biology.

These men always incorrectly use social science to make either point, demonstrating their lack of familiarity with social science methods, while also exemplifying the subjective idea that one can pick and choose which "bits" of science they want to believe. Other empirical sociological research highlights how inequality is one area of science that people disbelieve when this clashes with their personal belief system. In the case of the public who say they love science, a significant sub-group of men want to gate-keep science, by forcing women to remain silent on inequality.

Read the science on my blog: #sociology   #science   #stemwomen   #stem  
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Denise “Mika” Hutchins's profile photoCreate Parity's profile photoPauline Yu's profile photoSibani Nachadalingam's profile photo
Agreed +Bill Carter​​ the bar is set way too low! Harassment training is great and should be in all workplaces, but this tends to only address overt forms of sexual harassment, rather than how to challenge people's thinking about gender bias. How men ignore women in meetings, how women's leadership style is often seen as a weakness, why we should do more to support working mothers in an active sense, how the language we use marginalises women ("jokes" for example), and so on. At a previous job of mine this type of training was mandatory annually and successful completion of the course was tied to our pay progression. This was highly effective at sending the message about what behaviour would and would not be tolerated. No one could claim "Oh I didn't know I was being sexist."
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Supporting the careers of Women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
We began this Page in 2012, to help the public to connect with women who work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). We want to create a safe place for people of all genders to discuss how we can work together to make STEM more inclusive.

The scientific literature has shown that there are inequalities between women and men in STEM. Denying that a problem exists is the single biggest obstacle in promoting gender equity in science. The way to move forward is to start off from the position that things are unequal; so what are we going to do about it? 

Many women eventually drop out of STEM fields because of organisational barriers to career progression, lack of career guidance and support, and family commitments. The same is not true for men who work in STEM. Although many women scientists successfully balance their careers and family responsibilities, there are still institutional obstacles for women in STEM. Having women role models and good mentors are powerful simulators for change.

Our Aims
  1. Make women in STEM more visible to the public, with a special focus on women scientists on Google+
  2. Promote careers for women in STEM
  3. Highlight issues of gender inequality
  4. Address solutions to improve women’s participation, inclusion, leadership and recognition in STEM.

Our Team

Our site and content managers are women who are actively work in the STEM fields;

Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe, Professor Rajini Rao and Dr Zuleyka Zevallos.