Blogging to you (semi-)live from the on-going women in physics conference being held here at USC this weekend. It was concieved and organized by two of our department’s graduate students Amy Cassidy and Katie Mussak, and the conference webpage is here.
Here is a quote from their motivations:
The low representation of women in physics is an issue of international concern. This disparity points to an untapped resource of talented women who could contribute to future developments in science. The percentage of degrees awarded to women in physics in the USA is much lower than in some other countries. In the AIP report, Women in Physics and Astronomy, 2005 the US ranked 12 out of 19 countries for percentage of PhDs awarded to women and 11th out of 20 countries for percentage of Bachelors awarded to women.
To help undergraduate students from USC and other schools in Southern California to successfully make the transition from undergraduate to graduate studies in physics.
To foster a culture in Southern California and at USC in which women are encouraged and supported to pursue and succeed in higher education in physics.
To strengthen the network of women in physics in Southern California.
Notable events (for me) so far:
**Excellent talk by Caolionn O’Connell (Caltech), on accelerator technology in experimental high energy physics. She focused on Plasma Wake Field accelerator technology, which she has described on her blog. Finally I actually got to meet her, having only communicated with her electronically in the past. I let her know that her blog is missed by many (the quantum diaries project has ended). (Note to self: Maybe I can convince her to start blogging again in a new project… we could form a joint blog where we can combine efforts in blogging about life and physics in the greater LA area….. Hmmmm.)
**Excellent talk by Nai-Chang Yeh, on experimental condensed matter physics, focusing on a variety of superconductors, magnetic materials, and superconductor/ferromagnet heterostructures. Find out more about her lab’s work here.
**Answering so many excellent questions from so many excellent students (Undergraduates from all over the map) about graduate school, physics in general, high energy physics research, string theory.
**We also had a very good lunch, attended by all the students and organisers, together with a number of the faculty, our department chairman, two of our Deans, and several other faculty who administer the Women in Science and Engineering program here at USC (a very valuable source of support for women in these fields, both colleagial, financial and otherwise). I remind you that it is a Saturday, but these folks turned out in strength, which was good to see.
There’s more to come. I’d better go back for the next talk, by Sheila Tobias.