Friday, July 21, 2006

BofN special: responding to your comments

I'm still feeling overwhelmed by this week's traffic volume. But I thought I'd take a bit of time this evening to respond to some of the comments and questions that you have been asking.

First off, let me say, that I did take the liberty of deleting a few comments - but nothing with substance. In the future, I'd suggest that if you need to go the bathroom, that you should get up from your computer and do so, rather than leaving a comment on my blog. Also, I don't read gibberish.

Comment: what are you specialized in?
Response: I study -ology, which is one of the natural sciences. My subspecialties are thing1 and thing2 although sometimes I get dragged into thing3. I'm not particularly concerned about the career reprecussions of this blog, but admitting to being the a scholar on rollerblading theory (thanks, B*) seems to be inviting un-needed attention.

Comment: ...wondering, what do you believe in?
Response: I believe that women and men are equal. I believe that for centuries our society has favored men's professional aspirations while supressing those of women. I believe that the 35 years since the passage of Title 9 has not evened the playing field for women in science and in academia.

Comment: why a blog only for scientist -women?.You have other talents and if also you leed outside other things of life and other persons,including men.
Response: Blogging about the woman-scientist part of my life is what I mainly choose to share in this venue. I do have a life (sometimes) outside of this role. When I started this blog, I was feeling particularly isolated (apparently a common feeling), and started this blog as both an outlet and a tool to find support (and I have!).

Comment: "Also, are women really at prime reproductive age when they're starting tenure-track positions?...I mean, most postdocs don't even get decent health insurance, and would have a very hard time paying for child care, etc. I think if we could support postdocs more as they try to start families, we'd have less of an impact on tenure-seeking women."
Response: Good point. If you proceeded diligently from undergraduate to MS to PhD, and got out in a commendable number of years, you would be ~28. If you had 1-2 years of post-doc time and then landed a t-t position, you would already be 30. That's a great age to have your first kid, but plenty of women would like to have them earlier. And that's not even considering if you had taken a less rigid route to your Ph.D. I agree that more support for post-docs and especially graduate students who want to have children might mitigate some of the baby-boom on the t-t and post-tenure.

Comment: why do you think being a natural scientist is different than being a socia scientist (I am neither, or both, well, I think it is all the same and one in the end). But I am doing my phd on a social science project now, and I do not understand the difference at all?
Response: This is a really interesting question. In my mind, the natural sciences encompass a different set of disciplines (those that primarily study non-human systems) than the social sciences (primarily studying human systems). Other than this is there a difference? We use many of the same methods (the scientific method, statistics, theory and empiricism). Maybe natural sciences use less qualitative data than social sciences. Fields like psychology seem to span both the natural and social sciences. What do my readers think?

Comment: I hope you don't find that I "sold-out" to teach. I find that helping today's young people learn the importance of science and critical thinking is also so important.
Response: Of course I don't think you sold out to teach. I completely agree with you, that's why I spent this week teaching MS/HS teachers. Teaching is an incredibly noble profession, I just don't have the temperment to do it full time.

Comment: Costco bookshelf? Looks like the solid oak one that I have.
Response: Nope, I got it at a locally owned furniture store (but it is solid oak). BusinessMan (my husband) and I try to support locally owned stores as much as possible, although we do have weaknesses.

Comment: how's the dog still surviving!
Response: Very well, thank you for asking. Although the heat this weekend is supposed to exceed 100 F, so she and I will probably be spending our time in the AC and in the water.

Finally, many of you posted links to your blogs or requested a link from this page. If you would like me to link to you, please continue to visit here and occasionally comment. If I start to recognize a name, I am more likely to take a look at your blog, and if I like it, you may gain not only a link but a reader.


Digital Art Photography for Dummies said...

I hope that some time you can get out and talk to girls in the public schools. What do you think of the anti-science politics that's going on during this, the Bush era?

Xisla said...

Good blog! I'm a grad student too, on the other side of the Pacific. More junior than you, just passed quals. I blog about much fluffier things that only look like science.

I wish you all the best for your thesis defense!

stormraider84 said...

well i appreciate your views, maybe this could be useful to you? =)

Sicilian said...

Great blog. . . love your thought proces... Agree with your views especially about title 9. . . have an 18 year old who loves science, but doesn't know how to apply that love into a job.
Will check back to keep up with your thoughts. . . oh I too blog as a release mechanisim. . .

Writer Chica said...

About natural and social sciences:

I agree about how each of them studies different systems and many of the same methods are used. However, I think those methods are employed differently in the natural and social sciences. The natural sciences allow for more manipulation of the systems. Social sciences just can't manipulate their system of study (people) in the same way as the natural sciences and so must rely more heavily on observational/descriptive studies rather than controlled experimental studies.

sarala said...

Hi,I'm glad you're blogging about this. Wouldn't want to distract you from your Ph.D. too much though. I finished mine in 1990 in an -ology but minus the field work. I am very happy in my career and life but do feel that being a woman limited my options. I attribute this mostly to my commitment to family and the conflict between that and succeeding in science. My two closest friends from graduate school who are also mothers have also not made the heights of research science. This is not to say don't proceed with your dreams but keep up the blogging to support some change.
Good luck!

Fran said...

I really liked your blog!I didn't read everything yet, but it seems to be a great blog!

Kisses ^^

Holly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Holly said...

About natural and social sciences:

I agree with writer chica. Social scientists cannot manipulate their 'subjects' to the same extent that natural scientists can. Darn those ethical rules! I also agree with science woman that psychology spans both, although some areas of psychology could be more interdisciplinary. My own area (zoological / comparative/ evolutionary) bridges the gulf very well, but I'm an oddball in the psychology world because my main interest is in bringing the field studies of nonhuman primates into psychology and vice versa. Psychologists have been studying primates in labs for years but field primatology is virtually ignored in psychology. It finds its home in anthropology more often. Psychology departments don't have a lot of patience for long-term research anymore. Then again when did they ever? Feeling cynical about finding a tenure-track in my line of work...

Rose Connors said...


Thanks for this blog and thanks to BofN for including it. I've just started blogging myself on sundries. I'm a registered nurse in coastal Oregon (love the Northwest!) Nursing adds an interesting twist to the women in science question, since it is a largely female field. I haven't read statistics but would guess more male RNs receive promotions, though. The stereotypical view of nurses though, says a lot about women in science. You can get a little white nursing dress and hat for sex toys and see pop culture references to sexy nurses in recent movies. The bottom line though, is that many nurses support the family while the husband pumps gas or drinks beer.

More later. I'll be sure to bookmark you.

R. Connors

Emm said...

nice blog and very very interesting good luck with your studies ;)

mineguruji said...

Its sad that a woman is still not considered as equal to men in a developed country like UK. It may soud OK in a South Asia, but coming from someone from US of A, it is rather surprising. Men perhaps are same everywhere.

SarahBeth said...

About natural and social sciences:

I agree with both holly and writer chica. It is far more difficult to quantify human behavior than observations on the fitness of plants or presence of insects, cells, etc. Having just come from working in the field with an ecologist whose work is benefitting from the application of statistics, though, I find myself somewhat surprised at how recently that collaboration has begun.
I think that geography is another discipline that rides the line of quantitative and qualitative data and research methods. I find that more and more interdisciplinary fields are finding strength by drawing from both practices and am interested to see what the relaitonship between natural and social sciences will become.

mineguruji said...

The quality of reserach and science being practised by you people is phenomenonal.