AstroGrrls Unite!

So I totally missed this “International Women’s Day” thing that happened on Sunday. It was a wonderful time to talk about one of the IYA’s cornerstone projects, She is an Astronomer, reminding girls of all the opportunities that they have in science. (Being a geek: not just for dudes anymore!) I’ll be celebrating next weekend by helping at a Girl Scout event at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, the place with the space shuttle Enterprise is on display. SarahAskew celebrates with a nod to some of the space-girls on the blogosphere (thank you!!) and the Bad Astronomer (not a girl, but he’s cool anyway) also recognizes female achievement in astronomy and reflects on where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

Also, if we’re going to talk about women in astronomy, we can’t forget the pioneers, The Harvard Computers.

1 comment for “AstroGrrls Unite!

  1. Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum
    March 10, 2009 at 10:23

    I’m -SO- glad you are going to Udvar Hazy! Dr. Murphy told me about the event and I do want to go, but my eldest has an orchestra competition Saturday and I'm the designated driver.

    I'll send a notice about the event around to the CAS membership to see if any of them are interested in doing the event, but they aren't as outreach crazed as I am, so I won't expect much.

    You are the perfect person to go there, Nicole, as you light the way for these girls. It's incredibly important that they have someone to inspire them to get involved in science. Please make sure they know that you're with the NRAO so they know you're a professional astronomer and not simply a helper or "cookie mom".

    I was a "cookie dad" myself, so I'm not putting them down, nosiree. But having the girls see an actual astronomer who looks like them is a big deal. That's why at McCormick Observatory I called the Girl Scouts' attention to you and said "Girls! This is what an astronomer looks like!"

    These seemingly little things can make a huge difference. On "Point of Inquiry" podcast I heard Ann Druyan say how she asked a question of a science teacher when she was 10 years old and got a "What a stupid question!" rebuke from her science teacher. In that instant a future scientist died. She became a writer (and a good one) instead but not a scientist.

    Astronomical outreach offers us all the wonderful opportunity to perhaps reverse a story like that and completely change a girl's life. We're all born with a natural curiosity about the world & universe around us and astronomy is the one science that is poised to answer all the big questions kids have.

    Who knows? They might call you an "astronaut" like the girls at the overnight camp at Sugar Hollow last summer! Their excitement is contagious!
    Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum

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