RE: Intelligent Scientist

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 05:25:38 MDT

First of all, "chick" didn't bother me.

>But Amara, to be fair to the person who thought women scientists are
>unusual, it's *true* to a great extent that they're unusual,

Yes, unusual, but .. *science fiction* ??

I worked at NASA-Ames 8 years, and during that time there were at
least 6 women, in addition to me, working on SETI-related work in my
division. And that's only one astronomy research deartment.

>women in positions of academic power. There are more female scientists now
>than there were 25 years ago, but there still aren't very many who have
>reached the top such that they're running research programsm heading
>departments and so forth.

Yes, indeed, and so that's why Jill Tarter, the founder of SETI, is
held in high esteem in the astronomical community. When that film was
being made, it was common knowldege that she was one of the role
models for Carl Sagan's character. This is a pretty easy background
piece of information to check. See the SETI web site for example.

The real people who should get credit for that Contact film is: (late)
Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Linda Obst. Their script is an amazingly
intelligent piece of work, especially for Hollywood. The script took
10 years to be developed, it was very thoughtfully made, in particular
with respect to how portray the main character. Sagan was very strong
in supporting women in science, by the way.

As for numbers of women scientists: I get the idea that very few
people here have been to scientific conferences. Astronomy is one of
the subfields of physics that has the largest numbers of them. Please
go there and do a head count. Women astronomers are not science
fiction. You can also go to biology conferences, planetary science
conferences, geology conferences, chemistry conferences, computer
sciences conferences, etc.etc and find the same.

And goodness, NASA ADS abstracts is one of the easiest ways to check
who and what astronomy work is performed.

>So no one has to tell me anything about being discriminated
>against. Believe me, I recognize it when I see it. But I didn't see
>that sort of thing in the "cool athiest scientist chick" message.

I have my own discrimnation stories, but that was not what I
was complaining about. I wish the poster had done the background



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