Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Meet the CSWA: David Grinspoon

In our newest series on the Women in Astronomy blog, we'd like to introduce our readers to the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy.  David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, and prize-winning author. He is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. His research focuses on climate evolution on Earth-like planets and potential conditions for life elsewhere in the universe. He is involved with several interplanetary spacecraft missions for NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency. In 2013 he was appointed as the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress where he studied the human impact on Earth systems and organized a public symposium on the Longevity of Human Civilization. His technical papers have been published in Nature, Science, and numerous other journals, and he has given invited keynote talks at conferences around the world. Grinspoon’s popular writing has appeared in Slate, Scientific American, Natural History, Nautilus, Astronomy, Seed, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Sky & Telescope Magazine where he is a contributing editor and writes the quasi-monthly “Cosmic Relief” column. He is the author and editor of several books. His newest book Earth in Human Hands was named a Best Science Book of 2016 by NPR’s Science Friday. His previous book Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Nonfiction.  Grinspoon has been recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society. He appears frequently as a science commentator on television, radio and podcasts, including as a frequent guest on StarTalk Radio and host of the new spinoff StarTalk All Stars. Also a musician, he currently leads the House Band of the Universe.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with the planets and stars?

I think my first personal cosmic connection came as a child on Cape Cod where my family vacationed in the summer, lying on the beach at night staring for hours, awestruck, at the piercing stars floating above. 

Another important formative experience was watching the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon when I was in the 4th grade. From that moment I was hooked.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Meet the CSWA: Greg Rudnick

In our newest series on the Women in Astronomy blog, we'd like to introduce our readers to the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy.  Here we introduce Greg Rudnick.  Greg grew up in Chicago and his interest in astronomy started with his desire to be an astronaut and was fostered by his family’s frequent camping trips to places with dark skies and bright stars.  He became convinced of studying astronomy after a Saturday morning astronomy program at the Adler Planetarium run by the University of Chicago and Adler.  During his career Greg has moved around a lot.  He started studying Physics at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and graduated in 1996, after which he moved to the University of Arizona for the Ph.D. program in Astronomy.  Half-way through his time there he moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany to follow his adviser, who became director of MPIA. After his Ph.D. he moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany for a postdoc, followed by a four-year stint as the Leo Goldberg Fellow at NOAO in Tucson.  He started as a faculty member at the University of Kansas in 2008 and has been there ever since.  He is currently an associate professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Physics and Astronomy Department.

Greg is an observer who studies the evolution of galaxies using observatories in the ground and space.  He is especially interested in the environmental effects on galaxy evolution.  When not doing that he runs an outreach program at a local high school, and loves cooking hiking, biking and being with his family.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with the planets and stars?

I always loved science fiction and space but the singular moment that sticks in my mind is when I was camping at Badlands National Park with my family in grade school.  We went to a nighttime interpretive program and one of the rangers showed me Saturn through a telescope.  I was blown away and, while I didn’t know it at the time, from then on I never really strayed from a path to an astronomy career.

Friday, December 1, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for December 1, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 1, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. Women in Leadership: Influence             
2. Perspective: Communication in the Workplace
3. 2017 AAAS Fellows Recognized for Advancing Science
4. She's worked at NASA for 60 years, longer than any other woman
5. L’ORÉAL USA for Women in Science
6. Wonder Women
7. Job Opportunities   
8. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
10. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Women in Leadership: Influence

If, indeed, the key to successful leadership is influence, how do we become more influential? Is this something we can learn? Influence was a crucial component of the lecture on Power given by Dr. Mabel Miguel, Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of North Carolina (UNC), at the “Women in Business – Transitioning to Leadership” workshop at the UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School that I attended in May. Remember that “Power is Good” (for a refresher, please see blog on Power), and we should all want more of it. If we define power as the capacity or potential to influence others, then we want to increase this capacity or potential. So think about a recent situation where you successfully wielded your influence. Did you win an argument, change a policy, or improve a situation? Ask yourself the following questions:

• How influential are you?
• What is your favorite influence technique?
• How do you tailor your strategy to the situation?
• Did you have a plan when you approached people?

There are several categories of strategies/tactics that we use to influence others. These are often referred to as the three Rs: Reason, Reciprocity, and Retribution. Here’s a summary of each and some indications of when they might be the most effective choice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Perspective: Communication in the Workplace

An interesting article was posted recently on govexec.com by a woman who is facing her own role in the culture of "keep it quiet."  As she says in the article:

"At 37, I don’t think I am the only woman around my age who hashtagged #MeToo reluctantly, not because we do not all have mental ledgers full of things that angered and shamed us but because the expectation to brush and laugh off such things is so deeply ingrained that acknowledging the pain they caused somehow seems a failure."

This article certainly resonated with me, and I suspect will resonate with others.  Something to consider as we work to move forward to a more diverse and inclusive community.  For the entire article, please go to:


You may need to click past an advertisement to access the article itself.