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December 18, 2010

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Welcome to the slightly late December Carnival. First of all I'm pleased, but not surprised to learn that Scientiae folks know how to have fun (well ok in our own unique ways) .

For all of us geeks out there, there is no way to have more fun than to watch Vi Hart's Doodling in Math Class videos . Thanks to the fabulous Cherish (and FairerScience friend David Mortman) for bringing these to our attention. I so have to figure out more ways to get her videos to students.

The very cool Patchi has fun in ways that are, not surprisingly, very cool as well. Patchi has fun telling graduate students and postdocs about the small non-profit research centers out there where you can do science at a more independent level, as long as you can bring in funding for your research (and I would like to remind people you can do that setting up your own business as well, as I did with Campbell-Kibler Associates Inc.). BTW Patchi also has fun with her hobbies . Ah but what else would you expect from someone who write:

My early years, my learning years. I learned to think, I learned to learn, I learned to live. My middle years, my working years. I think, I learn, I live. My later years? I'll get there in another 30 years...

I told you she was cool.

And sometimes things that don't at first look seem like fun are. Alyssa at Apple Pie and and the Universe posts about someone being a grump (that would be two month old Evan). Even crying he's so darn cute that he totally qualifies as fun (well I guess unless he's crying at 3 am (been there done that; am very thankful there aren't pictures of me at that point)).

Erin over at I Study Asteroids worries that she really doesn't have enough fun- indeed she worries that she might have a serious stick up her backside but on the other hand she has yoga, the most adorable dog (I on the other hand am SO dog deprived-- did you HEAR me Tom?) and OMG Lush bath bombs. Hang in there Erin, you will finish that dissey and perhaps we could all celebrate Erin's finishing with bath bombs (I think I'm going for Big Blue).

At Scientist Rising, NJS is looking at fun as a motivator. As she says:

In order to do what I can to have a productive semester, I intend to make it fun. I will make fun in my research life, my non-research academic life, and my personal life.... If I make research fun, I will have no problem completing my PhD.
Now that's a wise and perceptive woman. And by the way NJS, congratulations on getting your fellowship renewed.

Liberal Arts Lady reminds us that a whole heck of a lot of what's going on in terms of fun and well no fun, is in our mindset. She asks:

Would I CHOOSE to stop doing research if I was told that I had "met" whatever standards were present for tenure? Would I stop going to conferences? Would I work less?

Her response:

No. But somehow that tenure "standard" makes what would otherwise be opportunity into imposition; I imagine I would change nothing but would feel much better about it if I wasn't expected to perform. It's funny what a mindset will do. I'm sure I could get away with fewer conferences, fewer field seasons, if I wanted that to happen. I just need to get my brain in the right place.

And her solution:
An entire half of December will be spent Sans Work. I will not be bringing my laptop. I will not be bringing articles. I will not be rewriting or grading or preparing lectures. I will have a Kindle and a Husband and I will be out of the country, and that is going to be FUN, even if I have to beat my brain into submission.

You go girl- we need you for the long term and that means taking the time you need to make things work for you (BTW- I'm old, I've lived it; so I'm thinking I can say things like that).

Thanks to all for your posts. Happy holidays and a toast to us having more fun in 2011.

December 10, 2010

A Women in Science Christmas Present

Just read this. It will remind you of how far we have to go but also give you hope for the future and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Thanks to Jen from EPBOT for making this all happen.

December 05, 2010


21 years ago tomorrow a man went into an engineering classroom at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec. As Alice Pawley reminded us in a 2009 Sciencewomen post.

He demanded all 48 men in the class leave the room, lined up all 9 women against a wall, and, shouting "You are all a bunch of [expletive] feminists!", proceeded to shoot them. He went into the hall and shot 18 more people, mostly at random. He finally shot himself. He had killed 14 women all together, and injured 9 more women and 4 men.

The women who died could have been anyone. They could have been your friends, your mothers, your sisters, your lovers, your daughters, your neighbors, your students, your teachers, maybe even you.

They were killed because they were women. On Sunday, December 12th, Worldwide Children's Memorial Day, people will light candles in remembrance of those, as my friend Deb Eve says, whose candles went out too early. I'll be lighting a candle for the women who died that day:

Genevieve Bergeron, 21, who was a 2nd year scholarship student in civil engineering.
Helene Colgan, 23, who was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to take her master's degree.
Nathalie Croteau, 23, who was in her final year of mechanical engineering.
Barbara Daigneault, 22, who was in her final year of mechanical engineering and held a teaching assistantship.
Anne-Marie Edward, 21, who was a first year student in chemical engineering.
Maud Haviernick, 29, who was a 2nd year student in engineering materials, and a graduate in environmental design.
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, who was a 2nd year engineering student specializing in engineering materials.
Maryse Laganiere, 25, who worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.
Maryse Leclair, 23, who was a 4th year student in engineering materials.
Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, who was a 4th year student in mechanical engineering.
Sonia Pelletier, 28, who was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.
Michele Richard, 21, who was a 2nd year student in engineering materials.
Annie St-Arneault, 23, who was a mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte, 21, who was a first year student in engineering materials.

May we always remember not just the women but the date that they were killed and why they were killed-- because they wanted to be engineers..