In case you missed them, here’s a few pieces I’ve recently written and published for Smithsonian, Inside Science, and Undark magazine. Thanks as usual to my excellent editors. I’m only posting brief excerpts here, so if you’re interested, please check out the whole thing using the links below.
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At Major Engineering Conferences, Women Are Still Hard to Find
At the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Expo last week, most of the participants — and nearly all of the high-profile speakers — were men.
More than 15,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors descended upon downtown San Diego last week for the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC), presenting and talking about the latest developments in the field, such as new kinds of integrated circuits for mobile phones and quantum computing technologies. As with many conferences, there was much to see and discuss, but one topic in particular became something of a sore spot with engineers in the field: Nearly all of the high-profile speakers were men.
“We are very concerned. There are few women here,” said Alba Vela, a postdoctoral researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain. She joked that a conference photographer seemed to be following her around, given that there were relatively few women to highlight with photos on the conference website…
For years, engineers and advocates for women in engineering and science have talked about gender disparities and tried to educate the community in hopes of changing the dynamics and achieving gender parity. “We thought it would happen organically,” said Elizabeth Rogan, chief executive of the OSA, “but it didn’t.” And as it relates to the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition, it still hasn’t…
[Read the entire piece in Undark magazine, published on 13 March.]