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Bolstering women in physics

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date:Jul 23,2013 source:意腾留学网 editorial staff:linan clicks:

Given that women make up more than 50 per cent of the world’s population, their representation in challenging careers should be at least equal to men, if not higher.Like their colleagues who are organizing and presenting at the third annual Women in Physics Canada conference, Simon Fraser University graduate students Fatemeh Rostamzadeh Renani and Donna Hohertz share that view.

Bolstering women in physics

The senior SFU doctoral students in physics benefited so much from attending last year’s conference at the University of British Columbia that they want to give back this year. That’s why they are co-organizing this year’s three-day conference featuring seven invited speakers at SFU’s Burnaby campus, July 25 to 27.The Perimeter Institute and Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Ontario originally launched the conference to help women in physics network and realize their career dreams.

Through panel discussions and research presentations, women who are undergraduate and graduate physics students, postdoctoral fellows and professional physicists share career ideas, accomplishments and goals.About 47 per cent of high school physics students in Canada are female. But women account for only 21 per cent of Bachelor of Science degrees in physics.

“In a field such as this, which is still male dominated, it is important to persuade women to pursue a physics career,” says Renani, an SFU doctoral student in physics. The Iranian Canadian generates models of molecule-sized electronic circuitry with magnetic properties. “Physics, and science in general, would benefit if more women entered careers in those fields because they would help diversify ideas in them.”

“One major challenge to women first entering a career in physics is the lack of female role models,” says Hohertz, whose research on light transmission through metal could advance development of surface sensors.“In my undergraduate and master’s career I had only one female physics professor. I think this conference offers a positive environment to women who come from less than supportive backgrounds. At last year’s conference it offered one of the first opportunities I’ve had to have an open, serious discussion in a non-judgmental environment about gender issues in the sciences.”

SFU physicists Corina Andreoiu, Karen Kavanagh and Barbara Frisken are among the established academics presenting at this year’s conference. They share Renani’s and Hohertz’s views that this conference is crucial to helping would-be female physicists overcome gender-bias and lack of mentorship in their field.

“Physics is so versatile, the skills acquired within a physics degree are transferable to any industry and business and lay down a strong basis for further learning,” says Andreoiu, a nuclear scientist.Nuclear science has huge applications in nuclear medicine, aeronautics and the space industry.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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