Women in Physics

  • Imagine you are sipping tea or coffee while discussing various issues with a broad and diverse network of students, colleagues, and friends brought together by the common bond of physics, graduate school, and the physics GRE.

sterculus
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby sterculus » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:16 am

tensorwhat wrote:As a population, I'm saying that you need to step away from the 'physicists are more intelligent than everyone who doesn't do physics' mentality for a second, and suppose that intelligence is not a singular quality based solely on problem solving ability, IQ test methods etc. - but that it might be something more general, perhaps there are different types of intelligence which yield the broad spectrum of people in a population and what they are good at.

On the contrary, I am sure that there are plenty of fields where the population is roughly equivalent in intelligence to physicists - in the other sciences, doctors, lawyers, etc.

If you want to define intelligence as "you're good at what you do", then say "skill". Intelligence *is* a specific thing, whereas "skill" is general.

tensorwhat wrote:Every child is a snowflake mentality is just a product of this singular intelligence idea that you are or aren't gifted with

Actually, the snowflake mentality is the "You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up, little Timmy" mentality. Or at least that's what I was trying to say. If Timmy doesn't have an athletic predisposition (like myself) he can't be a professional athlete. If he isn't smart enough he can't be a physicist. etc.

tensorwhat
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby tensorwhat » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:25 am

I agree with you on all of that, I'm just trying to do something a little different in my argument by supposing that intelligence is not what we believe it to be hehe

anyways, check this out:
http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Occupations.aspx

YF17A
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby YF17A » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:34 am

Just because I'm pissed that I'm going to have a qualifier-for-a-final-that's-worth-50%-of-my-grade in my grad QM class tomorrow...

If intelligence is really the ability to solve problems creatively, then why do we give so many damn timed tests like quals where the only way to pass is to remember how you've seen the problem done in the past, so you know what the answer looks like? I feel that as physicists, if we're trained to stay in the mold, we'll never get out of it...

sonikajohri
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby sonikajohri » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:34 am

sterculus wrote:Sure there are people who are unmotivated, but we're talking populations. Do you really think that as a population people in "manual labor"/"uneducated" jobs (i.e. welder) are as intelligent as PhD physicists? There are so many levels of education where the unintelligent drop out that it is inevitable that at the end of it you'll end up with an overall smarter population.

Not everybody is naturally gifted at everything. I could never be a professional athlete - I played some sports in high school and sucked at it. Likewise, I have some musical talent but could never make enough money to survive playing music. I think the whole "anybody could do anything that they want" is an outgrowth of the "every child is a special snowflake" mentality, and is mostly crap. Although maybe I'm just an asshole.


hmmm
So if we lived in a perfect world and everyone had an equal opportunity at everything, maybe your argument of average intelligence of populations would hold. But the truth is that at every level, the ones who drop out are mostly the underprivileged and economically and socially disadvantaged. I agree that not everyone has a gift for everything. But most people aren't given a chance to reach their potential in anything either.

And getting a PhD is not a sign of iq test-defined intelligence but rather patience, commitment and interest, most smart people would rather make money.

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Andromeda
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby Andromeda » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:50 am

Personally, I have always strived to figure out how a bunch of people who are supposedly so smart can still be so stupid. Anyone who needs examples of this probably hasn't been in the field very long. :P I mean c'mon, for starters wouldn't the really smart people be the ones who know well enough to not take classes where there's normally a 50% average on the exam? :wink:

Anyway, back to the topic at hand (I think the last page is prolly worth starting its own thread for), particularly to sonikajohri's comment. I think what any country's culture personifies as successful does play a big role in what people aspire to, obviously, though to be fair successful guys are touted as the ones who are athletes over physicists so I don't think in that sense guys are particularly exempt from such pressures in the US. As someone else pointed out though women are quite prevalent in other fields of science, interestingly enough even ones that were quite male-dominated a generation or two ago. It gets to the point where at my all-girls high school pre-med was suggested to everyone interested in science even to the point where people said it to me despite no indication on my part that I was biologically inclined. :roll: Not once did I hear it suggested that someone should be an engineer, though at that girl power institution they would be shocked to realize that was going on.

Also, I don't think it's been mentioned but women in physics does vary by country, interestingly enough. If you look at the data the US is on the low end of the spectrum but definitely not the worst- most of Western Europe has less than our 20%, Japan has 10%- but a lot of countries do a lot better. I have the most experience with Hungary as both my parents are from there- women physicists hold about 50% of the tenured positions, by far the most in the world, so no wonder as to where I get it. :wink: Thinking further though regarding why, it probably has to do with the fact that everyone has to take lots of physics in high school regardless of what you want to do later, and the fact that some of the greatest touted role models are the Hungarian physicists of the 20th century (Teller, von Neumann, etc.). That and up until very recently you couldn't do something like humanities unless you were politically well-connected, but obviously we probably shouldn't repeat that one.

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grae313
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby grae313 » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:41 am

I'm just talking averages here. I know there are many exceptions and many different kinds of intelligences.

But here's what I'm saying... that girl that quizivex was talking about, the one who was puzzled that her tabletop thermometer read 70 degrees when the weather report said it was below freezing out... there are a lot of people like that in the world. Now I'm just talking averages here. I think more of those people become receptionists than physicists.

I'm not passing judgment, I'm just saying.

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twistor
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby twistor » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:51 am

Honestly, if I could do it all over again I'd become a house painter. *** all this Ph.d. nonsense.

kaosgrace
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby kaosgrace » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:51 pm

grae313 wrote:
kaosgrace wrote:Truth be told, most people in most fields are pretty average; I don't think physicists are any more or less naturally gifted than e.g. sociologists, welders, or receptionists.


This is ridiculous. You really think the average IQ of physicists is about the same as the average IQ of welders or receptionists?

You're taking me out of context. I was discussing natural appearance.

unstudmaddu
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby unstudmaddu » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:42 pm

Let me add my two cents worth to the intelligence discussion....
I think the intelligence being talked about here is just one kind of intelligence, as has been mentioned by others. It is this "physicist's" intelligence which can be quantified into an IQ test. There are many other which cannot.

As examples of other types of intelligence, one can consider the type embodied by so-called intelligent writers who have exceptional observational capabilities and a way with words which most of us are just not gifted with. One can also look at presence of mind as an intelligence trait, another thing which does not necessarily go with the "physics" kind of intelligence.

The kind of smartness most useful to us physicists is the one we are all talking about and if we want to call only that ability intelligence then I think its fair to say that on average physicists would be smarter than welders and receptionists.

Basically, I think the "physicists" intelligence is just an aptitude, albeit a very useful one in today's world.

ps: If you consider test taking abilities as some kind of intelligence, the Chinese would be by faaar the smartest fuckers on the planet. ;)

a bucket
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby a bucket » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 pm

Yes, they're kinda like care bears but instead of shooting "happy beams" from their stomachs they shoot "*** you up!" terawatt laser pulses.

Edit: Sorry, I posted this on the wrong forum (damn text only mode browsers).
Last edited by a bucket on Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grae313
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby grae313 » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:57 pm

kaosgrace wrote:You're taking me out of context. I was discussing natural appearance.


hahahaha! Good! I thought that might be what you were meaning but it really sounded like you were talking about intelligence, or maybe everything including intelligence. I sparked a controversial argument based on a misinterpretation. AWESOME!

abeboparebop
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby abeboparebop » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:13 pm

twistor wrote:Honestly, if I could do it all over again I'd become a house painter. *** all this Ph.d. nonsense.


You've still got a chance, twistor. Don't miss it!

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twistor
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby twistor » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:08 pm

No, I've put too much work into this already to simply quit now.

infinityplus8
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby infinityplus8 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:39 am

I don't really agree with most people on this topic. Maybe physicists are less likely to dress up for every-day life, but that definitely doesn't mean they are all ugly! I thought we were over the "ugly nerd" stereotype! I know quite a few good-looking physicists and mathematicians. I am about to graduate with a physics major and I compete in pageants. What now?! lol :P

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midwestphysics
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby midwestphysics » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:04 am

infinityplus8 wrote:I am about to graduate with a physics major and I compete in pageants. What now?! lol :P


You leave this thread back in 2009 and then give me your number. That's one idea. :D

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:21 am

infinityplus8 wrote:I am about to graduate with a physics major and I compete in pageants.


And here I was starting to think I was the only attractive person in the whole field. ;)

-Riley

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sphy
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby sphy » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:31 am

midwestphysics wrote:
infinityplus8 wrote:I am about to graduate with a physics major and I compete in pageants. What now?! lol :P


You leave this thread back in 2009 and then give me your number. That's one idea. :D

+1, and there is no more entry allowed.
And at the same time I don't think that you are more beautiful than her: Amy Mainzer
Image
If you are then provide your photo and we can find the percentage of you actually winning the The Next Peageant., not just competing there.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:30 am

sphy wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:
infinityplus8 wrote:I am about to graduate with a physics major and I compete in pageants. What now?! lol :P


You leave this thread back in 2009 and then give me your number. That's one idea. :D

+1, and there is no more entry allowed.
And at the same time I don't think that you are more beautiful than her: Amy Mainzer
Image
If you are then provide your photo and we can find the percentage of you actually winning the The Next Peageant., not just competing there.


Is this person suppose to be overly attractive?

-Riley

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sphy
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby sphy » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:44 am

Whoa Nonstop wrote:Is this person suppose to be overly attractive?

-Riley

Directly proportional to the eyes of the beholder.

tady
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby tady » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:02 am

sphy wrote:
Whoa Nonstop wrote:Is this person suppose to be overly attractive?

-Riley

Directly proportional to the eyes of the beholder.


Speaking of which, are those bags under her eyes?

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HappyQuark
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:11 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:
sphy wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:
You leave this thread back in 2009 and then give me your number. That's one idea. :D

+1, and there is no more entry allowed.
And at the same time I don't think that you are more beautiful than her: Amy Mainzer
Image
If you are then provide your photo and we can find the percentage of you actually winning the The Next Peageant., not just competing there.


Is this person suppose to be overly attractive?

-Riley


Honestly, I think you were right when you said you were the only sexy physicist. You really have to drop your standards in terms of what you consider "very attractive" in order to start including any physicists I've ever met or seen.

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sphy
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby sphy » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:34 pm

tady wrote:
sphy wrote:
Whoa Nonstop wrote:Is this person suppose to be overly attractive?

-Riley

Directly proportional to the eyes of the beholder.


Speaking of which, are those bags under her eyes?

Yeah, that happens when you look upward with your telescope and gravity acts against your eyes and then the bags.

tady
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Re: Women in Physics

Postby tady » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:48 pm

Maybe she got poked in the eye with the telescope. The operator should watch where he points that thing.




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