Wednesday 25 November 2015

Women get a much needed boost in research funding gender equity plan

Sarah Maddison, Swinburne University of Technology

Women make up 44% of Australian academics, but just 24% of professors. One of the contributing factors for this disparity is that there are fewer women applying for research grants than men, even though women are just as successful at winning grants as men.

Given that research grant success is a key promotion criterion at most institutes, this hampers the ability of women to reach senior positions. So if we can encourage more women to apply for grants, then this could help increase the number of women professors.

This week saw the Australian Research Council (ARC) announce its Gender Equality Action Plan. This includes a range of actions aimed to ensure equal opportunity for men and women to participate in its National Competitive Grants Programme.

The ARC has already included maternity and paternity leave for all grants, and part-time options for early and mid career researchers with children or other carer responsibilities. It has also extended the eligibility criteria of some grants to account for time out of research for maternity leave and carer responsibilities.

Previously, the ARC would rate research output relative to the number of years since PhD completion, which would disadvantage women who had taken time out to start a family. Now research performance is based on the opportunity the researcher has had to do research.

The ARC has also introduced two prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships specifically targeted for outstanding women.

The ARC Gender Equality Action Plan collects all these initiatives into a single document, along with new initiatives such as improving the gender balance of ARC selection committee members, raising awareness of parental leave entitlements and part-time options, and monitoring the impact of recent changes to eligibility and leave provisions.

ARC Centres of Excellence will also be required to develop and implement an equity plan.

It will also consider unconscious bias training for grant assessors and the ARC College of Experts, who are the people who ultimately decide who gets funded and who does not.

Why change is needed

These initiatives are long overdue and whole-heartedly supported by the academic community.

While there is still debate over whether parenthood decreases productivity among academics, various studies show that the rate of research output drops for women returning from maternity leave and their research output is affected until their children are teenagers.

This effect is also far greater for mothers than fathers. A recent study of 10,000 economists found the research productivity of mothers dropped by 17% compared to 5% for fathers.

Targets and quotas make some people uncomfortable. But such actions are probably needed to create the disruptive change required to re-balance gender inequities. While differences in the grant success rates for men and women are relatively small, there are enormous differences in the numbers of men and women applying for ARC funding across almost all disciplines.

In the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, between three and seven times more men than women are applying for grants. In the HASS (health, arts and social science) areas, this drops to one to three times more men than women applying. There are more women than men applying for ARC grants in only two fields of research: education; and language, communication and culture.

This is why the two targeted Laureate Fellowships (one in STEM and one in HASS) are accompanied by additional funds to support ambassadorial activities by the recipient to promote women in research and to mentor early career researchers.

Now that research output is judged relative to opportunity, career breaks and non-research tasks (like heavy teaching and administrative loads) can be taken into consideration.

Going forward

The ARC has no control over the employment conditions or workplace culture in universities, but it does control the research funding. Because ARC grants are generally paid to organisations rather than to researchers, they can put conditions on the funding. The ARC requires research institutes to comply with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 when signing funding agreements.

The ARC also expects institutes to have a gender equity policy in place. If the ARC wanted to push the issue, it could require institutes to hold a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice for Gender Equality award, for example. Or it could require institutes to participate in programs like the Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative.

The Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering recently launched this pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter, which aims to improve gender equity and increase participation of women in STEMM (the second “M” is for medicine). The SAGE pilot is strongly supported by the ARC.

The Athena SWAN initiative began in the United Kingdom with the aim of encouraging and supporting women in STEMM careers. Since 2011, UK medical research institutes have been required to have an Athena SWAN award to receive research funds.

Will the ARC head in that same direction? There is no doubt that funding drives behaviour. And if the ARC Gender Equality Action Plan can drive good behaviours, then it will be a great success.

The Conversation

Sarah Maddison, Dean of Science, Professor of Astrophysics, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Monday 13 July 2015

Where do we go from here?

It has now been six months since the Women in Physics group was rejuvenated at the AIP congress in December.  Since then we've had renewed motivation from the AIP council to support our aim, seen a blog established to support the community, have seen our committee members co-opted to a number of other positions in the AIP and now have picked our 2015 Women in physics lecturer.

It's probably time that we started to think strategically about what our aims are up to December 2016, and how we are going to move towards them.  So with that in mind, I’m (Helen – Chair of the Women in Physics group) putting together a strategy, outlining our issues and suggesting an (realistic) action to undertake.  So I thought I’d put this to you all – please add your thoughts in the comments!  What I’ll do is collate them and put a finalised strategy and action to the committee.      

Women in Physics group draft strategy 2014-2016

What are the BIG issues?
1.    Vast drop in young women taking high-school physics in Australia.
2.    Women aren’t reaching top positions in physics and physics-based industries.
3.    Women in developing countries in need of support for their science.

What do we do already?
The group already assists in the well-established AIP women in physics lecture tour, definitely a positive step towards addressing issue 1 through a positive role model. 

Established session at AIP congress every two years.  This has been very successful, along with the establishment of a ‘Women in Physics’ breakfast.  Excellent networking for issue 2.

Establishment of Women in Physics blog , rather than a newsletter.  The idea is that it will be more ‘evolving’ and allow more people to be involved and comment.

What are the difficulties in doing more?
We’re quite a diverse bunch.  Think that the reason that the astronomers seem a lot more focused (and successful in these activities) is that they are united about a science focus.  With a rapidly declining number of just physics departments it is getting harder to identify who is a physicist.  We are all pretty cross disciplinary these days. 

No one is collating the numbers.  Gender balance statistics used to be collected, but now aren’t. 

Geography, a problem for all Australian societies – membership is spread over an area the size of Europe.  That said, collating numbers should enable us to identify where people are so that we run

Possible things to help us do more?
Partnerships – Women in Engineering,  RACI,  Women in Astronomy?

Involvement with Science Academy’s SAGE project?

Seeking sponsorship – have seen some very impressive  work by the UNSW engineers in seeking sponsorship for their events

How to move forward?

At present, partnership must be key.  I propose to approach the Women in Chemistry group of RACI, and suggested a joint event in Sydney (they have run networking events in Melbourne, so would increase their reach too).  Propose event of ‘science leadership’ – plus networking after.   

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Congratualtions Cathy

We'd like to congratulate Cathy Foley who, along with her colleague Keith Leslie, was awarded the prestigious Clunies Ross award for innovation and commercialisation.  This has been for the development of the LANDTEM system, which has discovered $4 billion of ore deposits across Australia - and $10 billion across the world. 

Cathy is a former Women in Physics lecturer and Chair of the Women in Physics group.  She's a fantastic role model and incredible supporter of women in physics.  Do check out her TEDx talk on what women can do for science - it's a great outline of the issues and how unconscious bias can hold us all back and what we can do to move ourselves forward. 

Monday 25 May 2015

Inspiration at all levels

Today the Science Academy elected its new fellows, and we were delighted to see two women physicists afforded the honour.  You can learn more about Professor Maria Forsyth and Professor Christine Charles in the videos the Academy have produced about them and their work.

Elsewhere, some of you may have see reference to the #girlswithtoys hashtag, a response to an offhand comment by a senior US Astronomer that astronomy was just 'boys with toys'. Cue thousands of women scientists saying 'hang on a moment, we're here too!'  The outcry got quite a bit of media exposure - and resulted in some lovely images - we've picked a few below.  Perhaps you have more to add? 

Professional Scientist Remuneration Survey

Many of you might be interested in completing the Professional Scientist Remuneration Survey, currently being carried out by Science and Technology Australia.  

Why?  Well, from their website:
'The survey has been conducted annually since 2005. Its purpose is to provide a snapshot of prevailing market salaries paid to professional scientists. It is important this type of information is current and readily available to scientists as they negotiate the terms and conditions of their individual employment contracts or explore new employment opportunities. The survey is an important tool in establishing market rates paid to professional scientists and helps provide valuable information to those working as professional scientists and those contemplating a career in science.
No identification is required to complete the survey questionnaire and all information supplied is held in the strictest confidence. A summary of results will be made available on the Professionals Australia and STA websites later in the year.'

Monday 18 May 2015

Announcing the 2015 Women in Physics Lecturer

We're very happy to announce that Jodie Bradby, Associate Professor at ANU, has been selected (from a record-breaking field of nominations) to be our 2015 Women in Physics lecturer - congratulations Jodie!

While Jodie's Australian-wide tour is being finalised, we were able to ask some 'get to know you' questions about Jodie and her work.  

What inspired you to become a physicist?

At my high school in country Victoria all the kids who were classified as ‘clever’ were strongly encouraged into the science and maths subjects. So I took chemistry, biology, physics and maths. This turned out to be a good fit as I found science both interesting and fun- in particular the pracs were really fun. And it way easier for me than writing long essays where there was no right answer (how on earth to deal with that?). The deal was sealed when I was in Year 10 or 11 I went on one of those camps for science kids at Monash University. I had a ball, met lots of other kids who were also interested in science so then it was just a question of what type of science? Physics ended up winning the day for the somewhat trivial reasons that I found chemistry uninspiring in school and there were too many big words to spell in biology! Plus Physics was the most mathematical of the sciences and I also enjoyed that aspect of the work. So here I am!

Who would you say your Physics hero is?

I have been asked this question in a job interview before and it is a really great question. When I was growing up I greatly admired many scientists who were not physicists - the environmentalist David Suzuki and the giant of natural history David Attenborough for instance. Actually I don’t think I knew any Physicists as apart from Einstein and Newton – it was well before Brian Cox’s time! Then I read some of Richard Feynman books and he was my hero for a while. But now, given I am lucky enough work as a physicist (pinches self!), I am constantly surrounded by amazing scientist and my real heroes are much closer and more personal. For instance, I admire the way Prof Marvin Cohen at UC Berkeley works so effectively with his students and only takes 2-3 students on at a time because he doesn’t feel he can have a close relationship with a large group while still producing remarkable results. I admire the way Dr Guoyin Shen, the head of the High Pressure Sector at Argonne National Lab takes the time to chat with the groups visiting his beamline and gently offers his scientific insights and experience. I admire the work of Dr Katie Mack at Melbourne University for her strong outreach work on her own terms and closest to home I really do admire my mentor Prof Jim Williams at ANU who has simply trusted in me from the beginning and who has taught me so much in terms of both science and life.

What do you think has been the most exciting discovery (in Physics?) of the last 10 years?

I guess you would have to say the discovery of Dark Matter and Dark Energy is the most exciting discovery in physics for some time. Really, how can you go past the discovery of ~95% of the universe? Even if you argue that this has zero impact on our daily lives, and indeed by definition you cannot interact with Dark Matter and Energy so this is very true, such big discoveries really do help inspire the public and are the stuff of big scientific dreams.

But if I can be allowed a second place, I would like to take an example from my own field of condensed matter physics (sometimes called ‘materials science’ – it is basically the science of ‘stuff’!). Currently thousands of materials scientists all over the world are tackling one of the major challenges of our generation – how to generate and store enough clean energy to run our planet. In the past 10 years the advances in solar and battery technologies have been remarkable. However, it is hard to point to one specific scientific discovery from one specific scientific group or person that has made the difference. The truth is that the idea of a single ‘big’ discovery by a single scientist is not how much of modern science works. The real advances come from large groups of scientists all contributing a small solution to the problem. So perhaps this is not as exciting as Dark Matter and Dark Energy – but you can argue it is a lot more important for the future of the human race. 

One of your areas of expertise is in nanoindentation, can you tell us a little about that?

Certainly! Nanoindentation is essentially a method to measuring how things deform when you poke them, and, as prefix ‘nano’ suggests, we can do this at really small scales. How small? Well a nanometre is mind-bogglingly small. So small it basically impossible for the human brain to visualise – we are talking about the scale of atoms - a single gold atom is about one third of a nanometre. Anyway back to the nanoindenter. This instrument uses a specially shaped diamond to ‘poke’ materials at the nanoscale. Depending on the force applied to the diamond tip, and how deep the diamond tip gets pushed into the sample, we can gain lots of useful information like the mechanical properties of material being poked at the nanoscale. And why do we care about that? Well one of the fascinating quirks of nature is that as the scale of objects shrinks down to the nanoscale, their physical properties actually change. This is the basis of nanoscience and nanotechnology. So something that is ‘soft’ at a normal human length scale might actually be quite ‘hard’ at the nanoscale.

One topic that you’re covering in your lecture is super-hard materials, how do these materials impact on our daily lives?

Many many scientists and engineers are working on making better, stronger and harder materials. We rely on such advanced materials everyday – we just don't always see how amazing they are and far technology has come. Superhard materials such as diamond, sapphire, cubic boron-nitride and other materials are used as thin-films, coating, cutting tools and in a vast number of applications that require hard, wear-resistant materials – from a coating on an artificial heart, to the inside of a fusion reactor to the face of a watch or phone. (Although having dropped a phone recently I reckon there is still lots of work to do!)

Any advice for aspiring young scientists?

My advice is to always hang in there. One of the interesting and challenging aspects to establishing a career in science is that there is not one clear path to success. This can appear super scary to a young person thinking about starting out in the field but it is actually a huge advantage. Just think about it. If there are lots of paths available you should be able to find the one that best suits you.

So hang in there if you fail a few subjects - we have all been there! Hang in there if you aren’t dux of your school - you don't have to be the smartest kid in the state to do science. Hang in there if your experiments are going wrong or if you feel there are no jobs to apply for when you graduate. Remember that a career in science is diverse and can range from the laboratory to the classroom to industry and government. And importantly hang in there because of ‘science’ and the good it can do society. Science really needs people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Science needs people who are ‘people-people’ as well as strong logical thinkers. Science needs people who can see the opportunities that a discovery could uncover and people who can run complex instruments while teaching a group of students at the same time. We need all types in science – so if you hang in there chances are you will find your niche that will enable you to contribute your love of science to create a better world. And what can be better than that!

Monday 13 April 2015

So what really happens at Science meets Parliament?

This year, thanks to the AIP executive, the Women in Physics group were able to send a representative to 'Science meets parliament'.  Taking on this challenge was WIP vice-chiar Jo Turner who's written this about her experience:

On the 23rd of March, I found myself on a plane winging it down to Canberra. I had no idea what to expect. Sure, I had been told that it would an amazing experience, and that I would be provided with a lot of information in the coming days, but to be honest, I was still nervous.

So what exactly is Science meets Parliament (SmP) and why was I nervous?
Science meets Parliament is an event run by Science and Technology Australia. Its goal is to provide professional development and networking opportunities to scientists from around Australia in order for them to better understand and communicate with media, policy makers and parliamentarians. The program looked amazing, with an amazing list of notables in the speaker line up, including Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt, Chief Scientist Ian Chubb and Minister for Science and Industry Ian McFarlane. The list goes on and on.

So how does one go about attending this event? If you are part of scientific society that is a member of Science and Technology Australia, each Society is able to register a certain number of participants. I had recently become a part of the newly rejuvenated Women in Physics, of which our parent association the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) is a member. The committee agreed we should submit a candidate from the Women in Physics group to the AIP. 

Unfortunately we found our anticipated delegates unavailable, so I thought, I really need to step up and put myself forward. I submitted my nomination to our Chair, who accepted my nomination and submitted our nomination to the President of AIP. You can see there is a bit of a process here, usually involving a lot of emails. I myself had just recently finished organising our State branch’s nomination so I knew process. When the news came back, there I was – on the list of AIP representatives to the SmP! Now what to do?

First I read through all the information in the delegates handbook and booked all the necessary flights and accommodation. Unfortunately I didn’t realise we were at different locations each day, and thinking I was being clever I booked a hotel near Parliament house. I could walk it right? I then went through all the instructions. Prepare an information sheet. I then prepared another one on Women in Physics. Why would I do this? Because on the second day of the event, each delegate who elected to, was paired up with a Senator or Member of Parliament! This was why I was nervous! We were given lots of advice already in the handbook. Don’t ask for funding, be prepared, that sort of thing… but I just felt that until the meeting happened, I would never really know what was expected of me.

On the 24th March, the day’s events were held at the National Convention Centre. My plan was to catch a bus (it was a fifty minute walk otherwise) to save using taxi’s, but the weather blockaded my plan and provided sheeting rain instead (the first in ages I was informed). A taxi arrived quickly and got me there in little time, which lulled me into a false sense of security regarding taxi’s in Canberra (which I was soon to be informed of otherwise and provided evidence of later). 

The day was spent listening and speaking to members of the media, lobbyists, policy makers, eminent scientists, and science communicators who all gave a range of advice, albeit occasionally conflicting. This wasn’t a bad thing, because after further questioning about this, we found out it really depended on what we were doing, how we were doing it and who we were speaking to! It’s all in the details! The last session of the day was a mini-workshop, where the science communicators had each person present, and speak for one minute on their research to their fellows on their table. We had five minutes to prepare, and then we were on. Each table selected their winner through votes, and a second round of speaking was done with four to five tables of winners. Finally, each of those rounds winners spoke to the entire group of scientists, and we voted for the winner with applause. I would love to say I was one of those speakers through to the next round, but sadly I didn’t compare to some of the others on our table. I did myself a disservice, knowing I had started well, but completely lost the focus of my talk. The others on my table were kind but I knew I had to work on it! I feel like this session more than anything, was the key thing to prepare me for the next day. I had to ask myself, what did I want to say to the Senator I was meeting, what were my goals, and what did I want to get out of this?

We finished the day with reminders to be at the gala dinner on time. Only to be met with the dreaded lack of taxi issue. Thankfully it didn’t last as long as it might have, and we made it back to the hotel to quickly prettify ourselves before hiking it up to Parliament house. By taxi because it’s still a fifteen minute walk up the hill! The dinner was preceded by drinks in the front hall of parliament house, then progressed into the ball room. The food was lovely and speakers included Minister for Science and Industry Ian McFarlane, and Opposition leader Bill Shorten, President of the Business Council Catherine Livingstone, with Adam Spencer MC for the night.  

The most interesting thing was something I didn’t even realise until half way through the evening. One of the people seated at our table didn’t show up straight away. She later arrived, and introduced herself as Senator Lisa Singh, from Tasmania. The table were curious about what she had been doing and she explained she had been in the Senate chambers due to the bill they were currently debating (the legislation covering the level of data retention by Australian phone companies). Whilst she was chatting with the table, a bell sounded and small red lights flashed and she excused herself. Senators (and Members of Parliament) can be called to vote for a decision in the chamber (they keep an eye on the questions by watching TV monitors around Parliament house if they are not in the chambers) at almost any time, and they have only four minutes in which to get to the chamber to vote. She did eventually manage to get some dinner but was called away again later on. 

I also had a very interesting conversation with one of my table colleagues about progress in her career and about challenges for women with families in the scientific workforce. The biggest thing I learned from this conversation that an employer who is flexible and understands the needs of all people with families (and not just women) provides better opportunities for career improvement for women in scientific careers. She cited an incident where her husband was reprimanded for taking a day off to care for their children (he worked in a different field) and was questioned with “where was his wife?” – well: “she was attending an important meeting at work and they’re my children too!”.

The next day started with an exciting announcement (not scheduled) at Parliament House, by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb. The Importance of Advanced Physical and Mathematical Sciences to the Australian Economy report was being released and we had first look at the report (almost!). We learnt that a conservative contribution of approximately 22% of the GDP could be attributed to the work that is done by research in Australia. We learnt that a report like this is an excellent way that policy makers can now consider policy design and implementation regarding science in Australia. This announcement was followed by a lively Q & A session with Senator Kim Carr followed a break in the sessions.

A number of participants then headed off to the National Press Club for the filming of the nationally televised address by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, but for some participants (like myself), remained behind to attend our scheduled meetings with Senators or parliamentarians. I was with three other scientists scheduled to meet with Senator Claire Moore. We were escorted through Parliament House to her office by a member of her staff. Unfortunately she did have to leave early on in our meeting to attend a division in the Senate, however she asked us to stay. 

Senator Moore’s staff taught us more about Parliament, and explained how the voting system worked, and showed us the chambers being televised. Despite having to leave initially, Senator Moore was able to spend quite a lot of time with us afterwards. She was very interested to hear about us and what we did and asked each one of us about our research areas. At one point she asked us as a group “what did you want to speak to me about specifically” and due to earlier conversations with my colleagues, I managed to spend a small amount of time speaking to Senator Moore about Women in Physics, and Women in Sciences in general. Senator Moore is currently the Shadow Minister for Women, communities and carers, so I felt that Senator Moore was an appropriate connection for our committee! We managed to spend nearly an hour and a half with Senator Moore, and she discussed many different topics and issues with us before our time was up.

The rest of the day was devoted to finding some time for lunch, before quickly running to line up to sit in the gallery of the Members for Parliament to watch Question time. Finally the day ended with a Parliamentary forum about where Science and Politics meet. The wrap for the day was cocktails, which I unfortunately had to miss as I needed to see if I could get an earlier flight to get back to my own house the same night (sadly the lack of taxis again proved my downfall and I spent the night in Brisbane before heading home the next day.

All in all it was an amazing experience, one in which I made many connections, and hopefully managed to disseminate information about our newly reformed committee! I certainly didn’t need to be nervous, but I admit I was exhausted by the time I got home – we fitted quite a lot into two days! Science and Technology Australia organised an excellent two days of experience for scientists and I would recommend to any scientist that they pursue chances to attend if they become available. 

My thanks to the Australian Institute of Physics for supporting my attendance, and I hope I made a good impression on Senator Moore as a representative of our society!

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Articles of interest 17/03/15

Canada’s Perimeter institute recently had a feature on the ‘Pioneering women of Physics’ - including a former AIP Women in Physics Lecturer Jocelyn Bell Burnell. A great list, with some ‘usual’ and non usual suspects. In particular I loved the inclusion of Ursula Franklin who spoke at the International Women in Physics conference in Waterloo in 2014. What do you think of the list, who’s been missed out? Perhaps we should look to developing one with an Australian slant?

On a sadder note is The Conversation article on the fact that teachers will marks boys in maths more favorably than girls. It explains the results of a long-term study that it is thought reflects the societal expectation that ‘girls can’t do maths’. The article itself has prompted some debate in the comments. This issue has been hot in the press of late, with the Guardian running a story on the fact that girls ‘lack self-confidence’ in maths. This was prompted by research from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which again pinned the blame on expectations of parents and teachers. It’s a nebulous problem, but what approaches should we (as a society who don’t lack confidence in maths) look to take?

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Opportunities, articles and events 03/03/15


Applications for the L’Oreal Women in Science Fellowships 2015 were announced this week.  The fellowships (and award of $25,000) is open to Early Career Researchers who  work in a range of fields including material sciences, physical sciences, mathematics or engineering.  For information on how to apply see


A couple of articles of interest this week, the first is a report from the UK’s IOP about their naming of Juno Champions in University Departments (I may be a little biased in liking this news, as my old department UCL was named)  We’re certainly taking a lot of interest in the IOP’s Juno project, which aims to ‘The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.’
Also an interesting read is a post by Athene Donald on her blog a response to the recent concern’s that the UK’s Royal Society wasn’t treating women fairly  Donald’s insight, she regularly sits on other Royal Society panels, is really interesting.   There’s also an interesting comment stream on the post too.  


Those of you in Sydney might be interested in the Women in Science forum, hosted by UNSW at the National Maritime museum this Friday , including the launch of their 50:50 project.  There’s an option to watch the launch via the web if you’re further afield.
For those of you in Victoria, you may be interested in the ‘F word – science’ event at Melbourne’s wheeler centre on the 16th April

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Articles of interest 25/02/2015

Two articles that have appeared in recent days that may be of interest/comment.

The first is an article from Nature describing a study that claims that in the US the 'leaky pipeline' is no longer an issue between graduate and PhD level.

Second is by Selina Todd of Oxford University announcing the creation of a Women in Humanities group, aimed at actively supporting women in academia. 

Monday 23 February 2015

Call for the Women in Physics lecturer 2015

We're currently on the hunt for our 2015 Women in Physics lecturer - is it you?

Professor Sheila Rowan, Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research in the School of Physics and Astronomy, was the Women in Physics lecturer in 2014. 

The Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics Lecture Tour celebrates the contribution of women to advances in physics. Under this scheme, a woman who has made a significant contribution in a field of physics will be selected to present lectures in venues arranged by each participating state branch of the AIP.  Nominations are currently sought for the AIP WIP Lecturer for 2015. We are seeking a woman working in Australia who:
  • has made a significant contribution in a field of physics research
  • has demonstrated public speaking ability
  • is available in 2015 to visit Canberra and each of the six Australian State capital cities and surrounding regions.
Presentations will include school lectures, public lectures and research colloquia, subject to negotiation with the various AIP state branches and their contacts. School and public lectures are expected to be of interest to non-specialist physics audiences, and to increase awareness among students and their families of the possibilities offered by continuing to study physics. University lectures will be presented at a level suitable for the individual audience (professional or graduate). Air travel and accommodation will be provided.
Nominations should be sent via mail or email to the AIP Special Projects Officer (see information below) via the nomination form (please click here to download the nomination form).  Self-nomination is welcomed, as are nominations from branches or employers/colleagues.

Nomination Requirements

  1. Nominee’s details
  2. Nominee’s CV, including a detailed record of presentations to the general public, schools and media
  3. A 300-500 word nomination which should include:
  • a brief statement of the research area of interest to the nominee,
  • an outline of her significant contributions to physics,
  • references to key publications in which these contributions were presented (via curriculum vitae)
  • evidence of her ability to give a lecture which will excite an enthusiastic response in senior secondary and undergraduate students. (NOTE: this requirement must be adequately addressed in order for the nominee to be considered for selection)
Self-nominations should include names of two referees who can attest to the ability of the nominee to give lectures appropriate for the target audience.
Closing Date:  27 February 2015

Applications and nominations should be sent by email  to the AIP Special Projects Officer