By Patricia Daukantas
One uses optics to probe the molecular mechanisms of living cells. A second performs femtosecond time-resolved coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) measurements on single molecules. A third did a college-freshman project involving a vertical cavity surface-emitting laser.
These three up-and-coming scientists are all doctoral candidates in science and engineering and are all active in OSA and its student chapters. They’re also all women who recently told their stories to Jennifer Kruschwitz, a long-time OSA volunteer, as part of a campaign to increase the visibility of minorities and women, who are underrepresented in optics and photonics careers (as well as most other branches of science and engineering).
The first three women to get the Minorities and Women in OSA (MWOSA) spotlight are Ruby Raheem, Centre for Biomedical Engineering, University of Edinburgh, U.K.; Meredith Lee, department of electrical engineering, Stanford University, U.S.A.; and Desiré Whitmore, department of chemical and material physics, University of California, Irvine, U.S.A. All three scientists’ profiles are available at OSA’s Web site and more inspiring stories like theirs will appear in future months. Be sure to sign up for the monthly MWOSA newsletter if you haven’t already done so.
In other news, the journal Nature recently published an article claiming sexism within the particle physics community at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., U.S.A. (Note that you will need to pay to read the full article unless you have a subscription to the journal.) The author, Sherry Towers, studied the careers of 57 researchers on one particle physics experiment and found that the women on the team did more of the maintenance work and got less of the glory (in the form of conference talks). The online version of the full Nature article includes a lively stream of comments on Towers’ findings and other issues concerning women in scientific careers; you can view the comments on the Web without purchasing the full news story. A preprint of the original article by Towers is at arXiv.org.
2008-04 April, OSA