Start of Sabbatical

It’s official — my junior sabbatical (technically “junior leave”) has begun.  I’m free from teaching, college service, and academic advising for a whole year.  I’m being paid part-time, but it’s worth it!

In addition to the mountain of research-related goals I’ve set for myself, I also want to get outside and explore more of the area.  I’ve succeeded so far, spending the first weekend visiting colleagues at UC Merced and hiking in Yosemite.

20180519_125624Ok, so not every weekend’s going to get views like this one.  I’ve been also doing some long bike rides in Portland (long for me, at least) — part of the 10 best rides in Portland, a map that has quickly become my go-to guide.  Last weekend I biked to the summit of McKenzie Pass — the views were as good as I had heard, including the vast lava fields near the top.

20180616_135341

So far, the start of sabbatical has been great.

P.S. My summer students are maintaining a blog of their research – The Pathway Not Taken – check it out!

 

Advertisements

Scientists At Work Photos

I always love a good photograph…and here’s Nature‘s 2018 #ScientistsAtWork winner.

More information and other amazing runner-up photos are in the full article: A photo celebration of scientists at work by Jack Leeming.

Prickly Women

The Inside Higher Ed blog just had a short opinion article by M. Soledad Caballero and Aimee Knupsky at Allegheny College about the praise of “Prickly Women.”  A quote from the article appears below.

Why academe should honor prickly women (opinion)

They are known throughout history as the “killjoys,” the “ice queens,” the “hysterics,” the “ball-busters.” They are the “Prickly Women” — the women who don’t let things go, who stand up for themselves and others, and who question the status-quo of structural inequities and outdated institutional practices. They stick out decidedly among the “bro-hood” of academic administration.

Despite the negative connotations and perceptions they incite, Prickly Women have exactly the kind of insight and persistence needed as the crises in higher education continue to mount.

Time-to-parity for women publishing in STEM fields

A recent paper by Holman et al. in PLOS Biology presents a new look at the gender gap in publications for millions of authors from over one hundred countries in over six thousand journals.  You can interact with the data through their  web app.

The gender gap in science: How long until women are equally represented?
Luke Holman, Devi Stuart-Fox, Cindy E. Hauser, PLOS Biology 2018.

The authors present the current author gender ratio, its rate of change per year, and the estimate number of years until the gender ratio comes with 5% of parity.  A few notes below the image…

Here are the first things I noticed:

  1. The estimated percent of women authors “maxes out” at 50% (there’s a Figure 2 that includes fields with a higher percentage of women).
  2. arXiv.org – the preprint server that began as a mathematics and physics venue – has particularly poor percent of women authors.
  3. First author percentages tend to be “ahead of the curve” for each discipline, while last authors lag behind the numbers for all authors.  In many fields, first authors denote who did the most work, and last authors denote who funded the work.  My hunch is that a higher proportion of women get papers as graduate students and postdocs, whereas fewer women make it to senior-level faculty as heads of a lab.
  4. On a positive note, more women are publishing in the fields than before (the rate of change is mostly positive).

The paper’s supplementary figure S3 shows data for Computer Science (from arXiv).  Based on current trajectories, only two sub-categories (Information Theory and Robotics) hope to see gender parity within the next 50-100 years.  We still have a long way to go.

Changing Demographics of the Biomedical Workforce

Thanks to Mike the Mad Biologist’s blog, this article (from January 2017) resurfaced:

The new face of US science : Nature News & Comment

This study looks at census data to determine the demographics of PhD recipients in the biological or medical sciences.  The authors characterize a biomedical workforce that is fundamentally different from previous generations.  Their infographic contains the main trends:

web-graphic-biomedical

Heggeness et al, The new face of US science. Nature Comment, 2017

 

 

 

Marie Tharp, oceanographic cartographer

From Mike the Mad Biologist’s blog, I learned about Marie Tharp, the woman who mapped the ocean floor.  The amazing story is described in the articles below:

Seeing Is Believing: How Marie Tharp Changed Geology Forever (smithsonian.com)

Four facts about Marie Tharp, the woman whose art mapped the bottom of the sea (massivesci.com)

tharp_early1950s_dp

Credit: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the estate of Marie Tharp, from the smithsonian.com article linked below.