Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"A Singularly Unfeminine Profession"

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler
Image from Amazon.com
Over at "Not Even Wrong," Peter Woit, a mathematical physicist at Columbia University, has a great post on a new book by Mary K. Gaillard about her life as a high-energy physics (HEP) phenomenologist.  I had not heard of her but Woit writes with authority and insight about the importance and significance of her work. Dr. Gaillard was the first female physics professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

There is another reason to know about the book and is the main reason I call attention to it. According to Woit,

A major theme of the book is that of how her gender has affected her career, including more discussion of the details of her employment and job offers than would be usual in a book of this kind. It’s a complex story, with the details of it well worth paying attention to for anyone interested in the problems women encounter in science.

Woit also links readers to an enthusiastic review in Nature, one of the most important journals of science in the world. I copy that link here.

The phrase not even wrong was coined by the theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli who had little time for fools. As the Wiki entry softly notes, the term is "considered derogatory."  Woit has been a long term critic of string theory and you may read about his views and criticism here.

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