Image 1: At the Solvay Conference on Physics in 1927, the only woman in attendance was Marie Curie (bottom row, third from left).
Image 2: 牧瀬紅莉栖, Makise Kurisu of Steins;Gate

Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?
By Eileen Pollack, for the NYT
Published: October 3, 2013 

Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts.

Read On —›

••••••

Highlights; emphasis mine:

I didn’t go into physics as a career. At the end of four years, I was exhausted by all the lonely hours I spent catching up to my classmates, hiding my insecurities, struggling to do my problem sets while the boys worked in teams to finish theirs. I was tired of dressing one way to be taken seriously as a scientist while dressing another to feel feminine. And while some of the men I wanted to date weren’t put off by my major, many of them were.

Her classmates teased her mercilessly: “You’re a girl. Girls can’t do physics.” She expected the teacher to put an end to the teasing, but he didn’t.

Other women chimed in to say that their teachers were the ones who teased them the most. In one physics class, the teacher announced that the boys would be graded on the “boy curve,” while the one girl would be graded on the “girl curve”; when asked why, the teacher explained that he couldn’t reasonably expect a girl to compete in physics on equal terms with boys.

For proof of the stereotypes that continue to shape American attitudes about science, and about women in science in particular, you need only watch an episode of the popular television show “The Big Bang Theory,”

Although Americans take for granted that scientists are geeks, in other cultures a gift for math is often seen as demonstrating that a person is intuitive and creative. … native-born American students of both sexes steer clear of math clubs and competitions because “only Asians and nerds” would voluntarily do math.

Urry told me that at the space telescope institute where she used to work, the women from Italy and France “dress very well, what Americans would call revealing. You’ll see a Frenchwoman in a short skirt and fishnets; that’s normal for them. The men in those countries seem able to keep someone’s sexual identity separate from her scientific identity. American men can’t seem to appreciate a woman as a woman and as a scientist; it’s one or the other.

The most powerful determinant of whether a woman goes on in science might be whether anyone encourages her to go on.

 “Just swim in your own lane,” he said. Seeing my confusion, he told me that he had been on the swimming team at Stanford. His stroke was as good as anyone’s. But he kept coming in second. “Zeller,” the coach said, “your problem is you keep looking around to see how the other guys are doing. Keep your eyes on your own lane, swim your fastest and you’ll win.

He stared into the distance. “I guess I just haven’t seen that many women whose work I’m excited about.” I watched him mull over his answer, the way I used to watch him visualize n-dimensional toruses cradled in his hands. “Maybe women are victims of misperception,” he said finally.

“I have found that even when women win the Nobel Prize, someone is bound to tell me they did not deserve it, or the discovery was really made by a man, or the important result was made by a man, or the woman really isn’t that smart. This is what discrimination looks like in 2011.” … women … turned out to be as biased as the men. When she gives a talk and reveals the results, she said, “you can watch the tension in the room drop. I can say: ‘We all do this. It’s not only you. It’s not just the bad boys who do this.’

The problem is that most girls — and boys — decide they don’t like math and science before those subjects reveal their true beauty, a condition worsened by the unimaginative ways in which science and math are taught.

Four young women — one black, two white, one Asian by way of Australia — explained to me how they had made it so far when so many other women had given up.

“Oh, that’s easy,” one of them said. “We’re the women who don’t give a crap.

Don’t give a crap about — ?

“What people expect us to do.”

“Or not do.”

“Or about men not taking you seriously because you dress like a girl. I figure if you’re not going to take my science seriously because of how I look, that’s your problem.

 As so many studies have demonstrated, success in math and the hard sciences, far from being a matter of gender, is almost entirely dependent on culture — a culture that teaches girls math isn’t cool and no one will date them if they excel in physics; a culture in which professors rarely encourage their female students to continue on for advanced degrees; a culture in which success in graduate school is a matter of isolation, competition and ridiculously long hours in the lab; a culture in which female scientists are hired less frequently than men, earn less money and are allotted fewer resources.

And yet, as I listened to these four young women laugh at the stereotypes and fears that had discouraged so many others, I was heartened that even these few had made it this far, that theirs will be the faces the next generation grows up imagining when they think of a female scientist.

odditiesoflife

odditiesoflife:

10 Must-See Photographs from the 1940s

  1. A mother is photographed while hiding her face in shame after putting up a sign announcing that she is putting her own four children up for sale in Chicago, Illinois in 1948.
  2. A sign posted to remind soldiers to take Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug, while stationed in Papua, New Guinea during World War II.
  3. A young man sits and reads a book in the ruins of a London bookstore after the air strikes in 1940.
  4. A young woman sprays her arm with self-tanning spray from a suntan vending machine in 1949.
  5. Hitler’s officers and cadets smile for a photograph while they are seated for Christmas dinner in 1941.
  6. A sorrowful suicide — 23 year old Evelyn McHale is photographed after jumping from the 83rd floor of the Empire State Building and landing on a United Nations limousine in 1947.
  7. An Austrian boy displays glee after receiving a new pair of shoes during World War II.
  8. A thoughtful soldier in the trenches shares his banana with a goat during the battle on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands during World War II in 1944.
  9. A distraught little girl desperately clutches her doll while sitting in the ruins of her bombed home after the air strikes in London, England in 1940.
  10. An anti-comic book movement began in 1940 causing many watchdog groups to promote the burning of comic books claiming that Batman and Robin promoted homosexuality and that children would become confused about the law of physics because of Superman’s ability to fly.

sources 1, 2

all interesting but…
REBLOGGING FOR NUMBER 10.

wildcat2030
Socrates started the conversation about philosophical conversation. This shabby eccentric who wandered the marketplace in fifth-century Athens accosting passersby and cross-questioning them in his celebrated style set the pattern for philosophical discussion and teaching. His pupil Plato crafted eloquent Socratic dialogues that, we assume, capture something of what it was like to be harangued and goaded by his mentor, though perhaps they’re more of a ventriloquist act. Socrates himself, if we believe Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus, had no great respect for the written word. He argued that it was inferior to the spoken. A page of writing might seem intelligent, but whatever question you ask of it, it responds in precisely the same way each time you read it — as this sentence will, no matter how many times you return to it.

Without conversation, philosophy is dogma – Nigel Warburton – Aeon (via wildcat2030)

Understandable. After all, everything is always in flux. Shouldn’t our conversation be fluid as well?

On the other hand, it’s why I love writing: rather than floating words and confusion, writing is set down. Mistakes are fewer. There’s time to craft a sentence into what you really mean, instead of going back and forth uselessly repeating things and stumbling over impolite interjections by an impatient listener. You didn’t catch something? Read it again — it’s all there.

And more so, isn’t writing “digitally” the best of both worlds? Quick and fluid like conversation, direct and anchored like print, but without the concrete irreparability of the latter.

wildcat2030
Whenever philosophical education lapses into learning facts about history and texts, regurgitating an instructor’s views, or learning from a textbook, it moves away from its Socratic roots in conversation. Then it becomes so much the worse for philosophy and for the students on the receiving end of what the radical educationalist Paolo Freire referred to pejoratively in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) as the ‘banking’ of knowledge. The point of philosophy is not to have a range of facts at your disposal, though that might be useful, nor to become a walking Wikipedia or ambulant data bank: rather, it is to develop the skills and sensitivity to be able to argue about some of the most significant questions we can ask ourselves, questions about reality and appearance, life and death, god and society. As Plato’s Socrates tells us, ‘These are not trivial questions we are discussing here, we are discussing how to live.’

The Truth About Elephant Artists

Can jumbo elephants really paint? Intrigued by stories, naturalist Desmond Morris set out to find the truth
By Desmond Morris
UPDATED: 21:25 EST, 21 February 2009

… I had a nasty feeling there was a catch in it somewhere, so when I was visiting Thailand this year I decided to find out the truth.

Read On —›
TL;DR / SPOILERS:

The inevitable conclusion … is that elephants are not artists. … they do not explore new patterns or vary the design of their work themselves. Superficially, they do appear to be more advanced, but it is all a trick.

Having said this, what an amazingly clever trick it is! No human hand touches the animal’s trunk. The brain of the elephant has to translate the tiny nudges she feels on her ear [(guidance from her handler)] into attractive lines and blobs.

And she has to place these marks on the white surface with great precision. This requires considerable intelligence and a muscular sensitivity that is truly extraordinary.

So all is not lost. We can still marvel at the paintings these animals make, even if their skill is to do with muscle control rather than artistic ability.

meta-maieutics
When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.

Friedrich Nietzsche (via hienny)

Same goes for hungry, sick, dehydrated and drunk, and if you’re any of these things regularly enough, you’ll start to be defined by these ideas all over again, because everything feels insurmountable when you’re too physically drained to process anything properly.

(via meta-maieutics)

I’ve been reading Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Jonah writes about Walt Whitman, who (ahead of his time) thought of mind and body as inseparable (as we now know, via neurology) and how ironic it was that when he died, his body was found to be entirely sickly — ravaged by neglect. Typical artist.

frrrst
frrrst:

Ara Norenzayan, Will M. Gervais – The origins of religious disbelief

Although most people are religious, there are hundreds of millions of religious disbelievers in the world. What is religious disbelief and how does it arise? Recent developments in the scientific study of religious beliefs and behaviors point to the conclusion that religious disbelief arises from multiple interacting pathways, traceable to cognitive, motivational, and cultural learning mechanisms. We identify four such pathways, leading to four distinct forms of atheism, which we term mindblind atheism, apatheism, inCREDulous atheism, and analytic atheism. Religious belief and disbelief share the same underlying pathways and can be explained within a single evolutionary framework that is grounded in both genetic and cultural evolution.


Interesting.

frrrst:

Ara Norenzayan, Will M. GervaisThe origins of religious disbelief

Although most people are religious, there are hundreds of millions of religious disbelievers in the world. What is religious disbelief and how does it arise? Recent developments in the scientific study of religious beliefs and behaviors point to the conclusion that religious disbelief arises from multiple interacting pathways, traceable to cognitive, motivational, and cultural learning mechanisms. We identify four such pathways, leading to four distinct forms of atheism, which we term mindblind atheism, apatheism, inCREDulous atheism, and analytic atheism. Religious belief and disbelief share the same underlying pathways and can be explained within a single evolutionary framework that is grounded in both genetic and cultural evolution.

Interesting.

frrrst
Despite some claims by anthropologists in the 1970s, human beings are not the only species that engages in war or kills its own kind. It now appears that chimpanzees guard their territory, raid the territory of rivals, and, if they can pull it off, kill the males of the neighboring group and take their territory and their females. And it now appears that warfare has been a constant feature of human life since long before agriculture and private property. For millions of years, therefore, our ancestors faced the adaptive challenge of forming and maintaining coalitions that could fend off challenges and attacks from rival groups. We are the descendants of successful tribalists, not their
more individualistic cousins.
Jonathan Haidt – The Righteous Mind (via frrrst)

kerberos30 asked:

Hello Olena, I really appreciate your works.I wonder if it's possible for you to send me a virtual copy of your work 'Oh deer' in big resolution.I will be really happy if you can do so.

Thank you. That’s not something I do. A hi-res copy is essentially a printable, reproducible copy that’s usually purchased with a license and usage agreement.

The Amplituhedron is the “jewel”-like, theoretical geometric structure (actually a mathematical tool) that’s been making the rounds in science news. The summary linked above appears fairly solid and unbiased, so far as I can tell.

Philip Gibbs

so far it is only applicable to the planar limit of one specific quantum field theory and it is not one encountered in nature. It is therefore very premature to say that this makes conventional quantum field theory obsolete.

On its own the theory is very interesting but of limited use. The real excitement is in the idea that it extends in some way to theories which could be physical.

Part of the story of the amplituhedron is the idea that space, time, locality and unitarity are emergent. This is exciting because people have always speculated that some of these things may be emergent in theories of quantum gravity. In my opinion it is too strong to call this emergence. Emergence of space-time implies that space and time are approximate and there are places such as a black hole singularity where they cease to be a smooth manifold. The amplituhedron does not give you this.

They will have to find a way to go beyond the planar limit, generalise to higher dimensions, include gravity and identify the relevant symmetries for string theory. Then there is just the little issue of relating the result to reality. It could be a long road.