EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ----------------- John Pazmino NYSkies Astronomy Inc www.nyskies.org email@example.com 2014 January 20 initial 2016 July 31 current Introduction ---------- Among the shameful realms of science history is the treatment of females, and other declared subclasses, in the profession. Much occurred in an academic setting, at universities and laboratories. A small fraction of the women eventually became heros, touted as some supergirl in the associated science. There are many obvious examples, earning chapters or segments in present science history. Behind these supergirls are legions of other women, who also made substantial improvements to humanity thru their work. but did not obtain proper status and recognition. These women commonly suffered discrimination, neglect, rejection, Today most are still lost from mainstream science history. On and off since the spark of the women's movement of the 1960s there were efforts to highlight the role, or lack of one, in various professions. For sure immense progress was made, like in the government workforce and business careers. Much advance was achieved in the maths and sciences, too. There are now organized and influential groups dedicated to bettering the status of females in society. Some of this effort dissipated under resistance from the ambient male-dominated world. Others failed from business or financial causes. Others, believe or not, went by the boards for want of support from empowered women. Others stuck it out and still agitate for awareness and equality of women. There is a more to do. In the United States the melding of women into the sciences and maths, or more generally the STEM disciplines, is largely propelled by government regulation. These come from all levels, from the national down to the local. Shows, conferences, exhibits are commonly run nowayears to bolster women's confidence in entering and staying in various professions. On September 26 of 2013 was such a meeting 'Inspiring women in STEM', or similar title. Ir convened at the City University Graduate Center. Grolier Club ---------- Grolier Club is at 47 East 60th Street, Manhattan. The 60th St subway line runs in front of it, producing subtile vibrations in the building. It was established in about 1885 and named for a 1500s typographer Jean Grolier. He was a printer and publisher who also collected specimina of typographic works of his trade. Grolier Club is one place which scientists do not think of looking for science activity. It promotes the art and craft of books and printed material. The exhibit does have incredible paper artifacts, some never before on public display! Grolier's web is 'www.grolierclub.org', with details on its public offerings. There was with 'Extraordinary women' an other exhibit on the second floor, where the break and reception were held. Exhibit ----- On 18 September 2013 the Grolier Club opened a flagship exhibit 'Extraordinary women in science and mathematics'. It showed 32 women, from the early 17th thru the late 20th centuries, who while doing world-shifting work, were stifled by prevailing sexist society. Dr Ronald Smeltzer was the chief curator, with other curators for specific bays of the displays. Many of the displayed items come from his personal collection. The rest were loaned to Grolier by libraries, universities, historians. The very bays in the exhibit show almost wholly the achievements with little for illustrating the struggles and hardships of the women. The latter are described in a handsome book discussing all of the women with more biographical details. It's at sale at the lobby desk of Grolier Club for $37.82. This includes the sales tax. The show was free of charge during open hours of the Club. These were generally 10AM-5PM Monday-Saturday. The Club is closed for certain holidays. The exhibit ended on November 23 with ardent hopes of preserving it thru modern media, such as DVDs. Some of my colleagues noted that the exhibit by itself with no interpretation was hard to understand and that the book doesn't really cover the displays. The two, exhibit and book, work as a unit to portray the honored women. One alone can not give the full story. Facilities -------- The exhibit was on the ground floor of the Club, straight ahead from the street. The room is a church-like hall with three-story high ceiling with balconies on the long sides. The displays are in wall bays on the long sides, plus a couple table cases. The floor was bare of covering, exposing for an rug in the center covering its parquet pattern. On the central rug, where visitors left coats and bags, was a long table with a few padded chairs. For presentations, like the symposium and Curie movie, the table was removed and chairs were set out in theater pattern facing the rear short wall. The podium and screen were placed there. Lighting was a bit dim, as expected in a temple for knowledge and learning, yet entirely adequate for general mobility. The polished stone floor in the lobby sometimes threw off confusing reflections. Even then it was a matter of pausing for a second to sort them out. The exhibit bays were top lighted. Their illumination was smooth and even with no deep shadows on the displayed items. Captions were in crisp easy-to-read lettering. Grolier IS an outfit for books and printing. I found it very handy to have a weak reading glass, of +1 to +2 diopter, to make out details in the pieces and to read text on them. I got a cheap spectacles of +1.5 diopter. it really makes reading a lot less trying. Restrooms were on the lower floor via a reflex stairs. They were of modern design with some ADA fixtures. An elevator works all floors of the building, including several nonpublic higher ones. At the symposium a coffee break and post-show reception were served on the second floor in a much smaller gallery. The food and drink were so filling that the NYSkies astrosocial for the symposium skipped the own optional supper. All crew of Grolier was utterly polite, cordial, welcoming, helpful. This caliber of service prevailed from the simpler clerks to the managers and scholarly team. I noticed one potential source of trouble. The entry steps were bare stone with no safety stripes. Two small signs on the entry doors warns that they can be slippery when wet. The one and only sluggish action was the purchase of the exhibit book. The computer to record the purchase seemed way too clumsy and slow. I hazard this is a network or software situation? Collateral events --------------- There were several walk-alongs of the exhibit by its curators. These were at first only in October. On October 30th Grolier posted two additional tours for November 13th and 20th. All tours were on Wednesdays at 1PM. I attended three tours and found them essential for a cohaerent sense of the exhibit. There were a few members-only events, like on November 6th for a movie about Marie Curie, one of the women in the exhibit. I was favored with an invite for this event, which was an excellent depiction her life and work to discover radium. The audience munched popcorn and sipped wine. Symposium ------- Grolier Club held a symposium in conjunction with the exhibit on October 26. It featured four speakers discussing the status of women, mainly in the academic theater. They were: * Dr Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, historian and author * Dava Sobel, historian and author * Dr Paola Bertucci, Yale School of Medicine * Dr Sandra Masur, Ichan School of Medicine The presentations were verbal with no visuals except for Sobel's. She displayed slides of women astronomers at Harvard College Observatory, plus many illustrations of astronomy topics. The symposium was in the exhibit room on the ground floor. chairs were set out in theater pattern, to hold quite 100 audience. The speakers were at the rear end of the room where a lecture stand was placed. The projection screen was on the left-rear corner of the room. After the individual presentations, the four speakers sat in panel for Q&A. After that, we all went to the 2nd floor for the reception. I do not try to capture each speaker's talk here. I compiled the assorted features of the exhibit, the symposium, and external dialog dealing with women in the STEM fields. Audience ------ A fat one hundred audience turned out for the symposium, with extra chairs stuffed into corners for the last several arrivals. About 3/4 of the delegates were women, mostly elders. All were dressed in collegiate or smart street garb. The men wore business suits except for one who looked like he came from his dockyard job. Every attendee was thoroly professional in demeanor and manner. They spoke erudita mente about many fields of science academics, world issues. A few chatted together in French. Almost every one was a scholar currently at a university, retired from one, working part time or independently. Many endured indignities for being female. Some know or worked with the 20th century women in the exhibit! They offered fascinating anecdotes about them. While most of the banter and chat was about females in STEM. with copious examples offered from the many schools represented, there was some 'shop talk'. This was almost entirely in the medical and biotechnic fields, which I have little experience in. Legal sexism ---------- A prime vehicle for discriminating against women in former ages was to invoke s legal barrier. This is an antifeminist rule, law, policy that put females in a lower status than males. The citation often banked off of a reference to an external regulation, with claim that it can't be violated. An example is a college charter stating that only one female may be admitted for every five males. The second female before filling out five males is turned away. An other is that a female must have a male superintendent for certain laboratory work. The rule is in the lab's manual of practice and procedure. These legal constraints paralleled those in the ambient society, like restricting certain occupations from women. In many cases there was no formal law but an in-house policy founded on the general climate about female employment. The bulk of the legal sexisms were abolished with the federal legislation of the 1970s, such as Equal Employment Opportunity acts. These banned many forms of discrimination, annulling local and state laws, for facilities receiving federal funding. Denial of access -------------- Traditionally female students weren't expected to do science, altho maths, They were not advised of or were discouraged from these classes. These were reserved for the male students. In a traditional secondary school the boys were assigned to various shop class, for woodworking, metalworking, electricity. They were given chances to take chemistry, physics, calculus, trigonometry, earth science. They got permission to sit lectures at other science and maths places, such as colleges and musea. The girls were funneled into homemaking, typing, stenography, bookkeeping, fashion, decoration. Girls wanting an electricity class were told it wasn't meant for them. The course was too hard and it didn't look good on their diploma. The result is that female students were unprepared fir careers in the technical fields and were unable to qualify for most college admissions. Sometimes, depending on the school jurisdiction, girls could get a lower valued diploma than boys, which further disenfranchised them in later life. In collegiate education the debasement of women continued. They were expected to take soft majors: music, art, area studies, theater, psychology. They could enroll in certain technical classes such as geology and astronomy[!]. In older eras these were mostly descriptive and simple subjects, mainly memorizing a bunch of facts and figures with little 'science' in them and just about no maths. Unequal facilities ---------------- After acquiring a career with a college, women were often given second-class service and facilities. They were assigned to the cruder offices, older equipment, low-rank crew, limited hours, scanty supplies. A women missed out on assorted perks, like a close-in parking slip, discount theater ticket offers, invites to certain staff social events, closet or storage for work materials. . Many schools were once al-male colleges with features and fixtures only for men. When they went co-ed, accommodations for women were slow to appear. There would be no specific female restrooms. A women had to ask a male partner to mind her in a men's room booth. Structural sexism --------------- This was, and still is!, a hidden form of sexism. This is the construction or furnishing of a facility that ignores the use or occupancy by women. It is usually the result of simply not considering that women will avail of the facility, it being intended only for men. An example is a college lecture hall with steeply raked seats. It was built in an era when only men attended this school. Now the hall is used by both genders because the college converted to coed. Women in skirts or dresses who sit in the upper seats gave audience in the lower seats a distracting show. One other example is a set of shared bicycles to save time going about in a large school campus. The bike is a male model, with the bar joining the saddle support to the handlebar bearing. The rider mounts it like a horse. A women in dress or skirt tangles yp around the bike saddle, possibly toppling over. Or she gives the campus a peep show. And one more is a campus walkway passing over a basement machine room. The walkway has an open-grill deck to vent heat and air from the machines. Women in dress or skirt must clutch the garment tightly as they walk over this section. Else they turn into 'blown umbrellas'. In these situations there was no deliberate intent or thought to exclude women. It was a matter of having no women to consider when the structure was built. When women came along they found the facility could not accommodate them. Compensation ---------- Women were paid less, often by rule or formula, for the same work as a man. Often in the place of actually hiring a women, she was offered an unpaid assistant's job. She did the full work as an employee, as far as the school allowed a lady to do, but was not on the payroll. She may be only reimbursed by a clumsy procedure for certain expenses and supplies. COmpensation often includes perks, like full membership in the faculty club and a spot in the faculty parking lot. Women had only a limited membership with fewer privileges, such as exclusion from entering certain rooms in the faculty clubhouse or from renting space in it for her own gatherings. Lack of proper enrollment on the books also robbed the woman of later benefits. These include Social Security, pension. health and life insurance. Nepotism ------ A collateral form of discrimination came from nepotism. In this system, it was forbidden to have several family members employed at the dame workplace. The intent was to prevent tangling work and home affairs, speciallu verticly in the corporate ladder. Since the first employee at a workplace, like a college, was invariably a man, this excluded the prospect of female family from getting jobs at the same place. Daughters, wifes, nieces, all were barred from working so long as the prime male was on the books. Male family was also barred but in all too many cases there were ways to get around the rules, as by referring the newcomer to an other college needing new crew. Such professional courtesy was overlooked for the new woman applicant. Nepotism, or antinepotism, laws were instituted when scandals broke out about family members getting favored treatment in a company. They got promotions or better assignments, were weakly penalized for violations, exploited company property, and resources. The motive was to keep family interaction out of business with no positive idea to shut out women. Most antinepotism policy was abrogated when civil and human rights laws were enacted. Today it is illegal to inquire of a new job applicant about her (or his) home life. Gender schemers ------------- After the equal employment opportunity laws went into effect, and after state and local laws followed the federal lead, genderism waned on the formal platform. It continued on the personal level or in cells within the roof facility. An individual official, from his upbringing, heritage, personal experience, tries to set aside females. He does this by tweaking the rules against women while staying on the compliance side of them.. He may, for example, issue a lower evaluation to a woman because her work wasn't quite up to standard. He pretneds to randomly draw a name for a single new promotion and the man's name came up. He doesn't submit a woman's grant application, saying it went missing. One speaker at the symposium, forget which, cited a female professor who received passable ratings but not up to her work performance. She left that job went thru transgenderation, and took a new job as a man. altho her work was quite the same level as before, he got better evaluations. Domestics ------ In spite of the rising trend for women to aspire to and acquire careers in formerly all-male fields, they are still treated as homemakers in a household. At home she usually must do the housework, care for children, cater to the men, as if she now has two distinct and competing careers. Time, travel, expenses associated with homelife press against the professional obligations. The woman may have to leave work on time to do supper for the male household, retrieve children from school or pre-K, go shopping before stores close. An other issue is that when a woman defers family planning to enter a profession, there is often a day when she feels the lack of her own offspring. If she begins her own family, she takes on, maybe without fully realizing it, that the new second career with all of its conflicts against the primary one. Teamwork ------ Most 'big science' is done in teams of several principals. This is all the more so nowayears due to the need for scarce or expensive resources, which must be shared among far too many applicants. Unless a woman is on a team, and on it as an equal with the men, she may miss out on references, recognition, honors. A person in a team gets noticed far more often than a solo principal simply because each citation of the team includes her, even if the citation didn't purposely notice her. Other factors ----------- The breaks, reception, and followup correspondence educed several other factors that inhibit female integration into a male society. Here I note only one, one that I personally see in astronomy. In the young years, women, and men, start to travel about by themselfs to places of interest away from home and school. Until then they travel by conveyances handled by adults, like the school bus or family car. In the larger towns they can go about on the transport network, using allowance or earned money for carfare. It is a fact of life that in just about all of America, except in the very most evolved and progressive towns, there is no functional transport system. If you can not handle a car by age, medical cause, physical defect, poverty, your life is horribly constrained. While this situation prevails for the whole population, it seems to be specially severe for young women. If the household does not favor self-motivation for its female members, it can show up in denial or delay in providing transport. The boys routinely get rides to their places of interest, like clubs and sports. The females too often are left out because giving them the ride violates the antifeminist mindset. Women are effectively isolated from opportunities to prosper and nourish their interests. Where there is a strong transport system young women can navigate on their own. Women in such towns do advance on the equal level as men. If you, regardless of gender, are old enough to reach the token slot on the turnstile, you're off to explore the world. The lack of mobility to explore STEM, and other interests, at an early age, puts the women years behind men in preparation for later attempts. They may lack the extra-credit activities in their college admission that men can routinely cite. EEO laws ------ One of the benefits of the Johnson presidency, setting aside other aspects of it for now, is the stack of civil and human rights laws it put into force. Later presidents, to a 'man', continued this trend to either expand the existing laws or enact new ones. The legislation is recta mentea a derivative from the civil rights movement and other social upheavals of the 1960s. These included the agitation for acceptance and recognition of women. Collectively they are commonly called 'equal employment opportunity' laws, partly because employers receiving any federal funding had to prominently pot in job notices the phrase 'an equal opportunity employer'. As the initial laws were elaborated and new ones went into force, the scope of equal employment spread to many other phases of the workplace. Today the US Equal Employment Opportunity office handles generally all forms of workplace discrimination and unfair treatment. It doesn't cover for itself all forms, but it is a good first stop to file a complaint. What it can't handle, because the relevant law assigns jurisdiction else where, the EEO office will pass the complaint to that other agency. States and local governments commonly supplemented the federal regulations for facilities in their jurisdiction, regardless of federal funding. At first this may seem to be a good feature of present American society but it can lead to confusion. It is almost necessary for the workplace to maintain an EEO unit, perhaps in the human resources department, to field employee complaints and handle them under the appropriate regulations. Some workplaces, like colleges, tried to evade EEO requirements by giving up their federal money. This was not at all easy because these colleges growed used to the largess over the years and did not plan for any shutoff. As a matter of fact, the federal closure of October 2013 kicked the shins out of many colleges duly expecting funding to start in the new fiscal year. When none ws forthcoming due to the closure, many anticipated programs were cancelled. In my own office my crew must sit and pass a annual class in equal rights and prevention of sexual harassment. Part of the lesson is knowing about the deck of laws, both federal and specific within an agency, that govern genderist behavior. Failure to sit and pass this class is noted for the next performance evaluation. Affirmative action ----- --------- A second tier of regulations, federal and lower, to promote women in STEM are the Affirmative Action laws. These push to give redress to past inequities and achieve a more balanced mix of men and women in these fields. The rules apply to other careers, too. Some employers note that they observe affirmative action in their publicity.. Unlike EEO laws, AA laws call for positive steps to remove the depressed representation of women. EEO for the most part puts a stop to this suppression, but don't require making up for it. The specific actions required are often negotiated by the employer and the administer of the applicable AA regulation. The college puts up a plan of action, like more purposefully recruiting at female schools or modifying campus facilities to adapt them for women's needs. The plan has the force of a contract in some jurisdictions. The AA plan usually has meterstones by which progress can be assessed by the administer. These are stipulated in the plan in a way that can be monitored by submitted reports, inspection of records, campus visits, surveys of the workforce. Falling short of the plan's meterstones can result, depending on the instant situation, a more diligent exertion on affirmative action, administrative penalties, or judicial remediation. Affirmative action has been a contention among both women and men because some see it as an interference with the due process of academic career management. The news media are filled with allegations of misapplication, moving along unqualified persons, withholding opportunity from others outside the plan, cooking the books, and other shady deeds. In some cases, a court was called in to review the AA plan, with some finding it too onerous or severe. The extraordinary women --------------------- I do not try to summarize the displays for all thirty-two women in the exhibit. The exhibit book does that. I do sketch out the work of a few women to get you going with your own explorations into women in STEM. . Cunitia ----- One of the 17th century women was Maria Cunitia, also Marie Cunitz, as the exhibit carried here. She was a mathematician who worked with Iohannis Hevelius in the mid 1600s. I knew of her as an assistant to Hevelius, thinking she lived in or near his observatory in Poland. She did a lot of the computations associated with the star catalog Hevelius built. From the exhibit I learned much more, yet we really have scanty hard information about her. She corresponded with Hevelius, doing 'telework' for him. She and her family suffered wars and fires that destroyed her papers and property. The major surviving work is her book 'Astronomia Propitia' or 'Favorable astronomy'. It was on display and is available as scanned pages thru Internet. It looks very complicated but it's mostly tables of numbers for trigonometry, coordinate conversions, and Kepler theory of planets. The curator was unsure about a question I asked. Altho Hevelius used telescopes for studying the planets, He used bare-eye sightings for astrometry in his star catalog. It made sense in the mid 1600s to do this because telescopes were so awkward and clumsy and so crude in optical quality. Any position measurements made thru them would be worthless. I believe, hardly certainly, that Cunitia advised Hevelius not to try astrometry thru telescopes but to stay with doing it by eye alone. Can any reader help with this conjecture? duChatelet --------- Emilie duChatelet was a physicist in the early 1700s with, among other things did the first translation of Newton's 'Principia' from Latin into French. She also explained the maths in it as a companion volume. The pair of books brang France into the mainstream of Newton gravity theory, prompting other mathematicians to develop new applications and interpretations. She also conducted experiments with combustion and fire, as part of an essay contest for the French Academy of Science. She found that radiant heat and light from flames shared many properties and behaviors. This suggested that light and heat could have a common nature, a fact ultimately confirmed in the mid 1800s. She was also the first to clarify the interaction between gravity energy, kinetic energy, and momentum, parameters only loosely handled in science in her time. They are crucial for a sound practice of modern astrodynamics. Yet even today most people have no understanding of 'energy' and 'momentum' as seen in descriptions of vehicle collisions and sports plays. Franklin ------ Rosalind Franklin studied DNA via X-ray diffraction and found there was a peculiar shape to the molecule unlike ay other biological molecule. Her apparatus and analysis didn't quite resolve the structure. She insisted that a proper solution to the DNA had to come from rigorous interpretation of data. Crick & Watson were doing similar work by building models of the DNA. They checked the model against the behavior of DNA. At the 50th anniversary celebration in 2005 of their breaking of the DNA code one of their original models was displayed at SIBL to promote a series of lectures there. It standed next to the reflex stairs leading to the lower gallery floor. Franklin changed careers and left her material in her lab, including an X-ray image of DNA. When Watson came to take over the work he saw this picture and realized it showed why their models didn't quite fit. he and Crick did up the double helix structure based on Franklin's picture. Harvard women ----------- At the symposium Dava Sobel gave a tight and thoro history of stellar astrophysics based on the women at Harvard College Observatory. She ended with Payne-Gaposchkin, who is in the exhibit. The use of women at observatories was common in the late 19th and early 20th century as 'computers' and data collectors. They worked in teams to inspect photographic plates, measure position and brightness from them. The data was then handed to the men to build their theories and discoveries. They also did the computations, like for eclipses and dynamics of star clusters. FOr critical work two or three teams did the same problem and were cross checked every so often. f there was a discrepancy among them the work stopped and the error was rooted out and corrected. . Harvard College Observatory was part of Harvard University, Cambridge MA, but operated independently. By this good fortune women there were better treated than in the main college, thanks to the good graces of the observatory directors. While the women were not severely mistreated or exploited, they were paid only a small salary or stipend for expenses and had little role in managing the facility. I call Sobel's presentation the 'AAVSO talk'. At every annual meeting of the American Association of Variable Star Observers you can count on at least one talk about the Harvard women. AAVSO for many decades was homed at the observatory. It maintains today a close cooperation with it and the spinoff Center for Astrophysics. AAVSO keeps a deep history of variable star astronomy, so much of it pioneered by the Harvard women, at its headquarters about a kilometer from the observatory. Sobel introduced the audience to many concepts of astronomy, some of which I explained during the break and reception. This task was made easier since so many audience were active in the sciences. I could build on their background to untangle the astronomy. Meitner ----- Lise Meitner worked with Otto Hahn, a male chemist, in Germany. She for herself earned a professor career and her own lab facilities. She studied the decay of elements into other elements and also artificially induced such disintegrations with neutron bombardment. Germany turned hostile to her, along with thousands of other scientists, forcing her to flee and settle in the United States. She and Hahn eventually discovered that the new elements came from the actual splitting of atoms when they disintegrated. She coined the word 'fission'. The date of her publication with this term is often taken as the zeropoint of the nuclear age. The Nobel Prize went only to Hahn with no mention of Meitner. A magazine article, in the display, about nuclear science erroneously stated that Meitmer worked under Hahn, not an equal partner with him. Eventually both Hahn and Meitner were honored by naming newly created elements after them, hahnium and meitnerium. Payne-Gaposchkin ------------- Ceclilia Payne-Gaposchkin worked at Harvard College Observatory in the early 1900s. She was among the last of the 'Harvard women' and the first female to earn a full PhD from the university. Her great work was proving the chemical and physical makeup of stars. By spectrometry since the late 19th century the stars were known to have most of the chemical elements found on Earth. We just assumed the mix of elements was comparable to Earth's. The means of generating the light and heat from a star was utterly unknown and no ordinary, and extraordinary, method worked. If a star was a burning ball like coal, it would have consumed itself in a few thousand years. Payne-Gaposchkin applied the emerging quantum physics, until then passed over by mainstream astronomers, for new interpretation of stellar spectra. The spectral structure indicated the presence of an element. She discovered that it also gave the fraction or percent of the elements, She found that a star is made of 3/4 hydrogen by mass, 1/4 helium, and only 1 or so percent of all of the other elements. This was not at first accepted by male astronomers. When eventually the composition was verified else where the road was cleared to work out a plausible energy production process by hydrogen fusion. The egredient helium weighed a bit less than the ingredient hydrogen. The missing mass was emitted as radiant energy. The amount of hydrogen conversion for the Sun, as example, was enough to give the observed light and heat received at Earth. Delicate particle logic --------------------- Apart from the Grolier exhibit and events, activity relating to the status of women in STEM takes place else where in New York. It is a mainstream theme for art, conferences, lectures. One was on September 26 at the CUNY Graduate Center sponsored by the Feminist Press. It was an all-day conference 'Inspiring women in science'. I missed it because at the same time in the Center I was attending the Tristate Astronomy Conference. I picked up some litterature about the women's meeting at the lobby desk. An other women-in-STEM event was on 4 December 2013, also at the CUNY Graduate Center. It, a play reading 'Delicate particle logic', was in the series of science interpretations in the Science and the Arts program. The instant one was the final show of the 2013 fall season. 'Delicate particle logic' tied in tightly, by chance coincidence, with the 'Extraordinary women' exhibit for its dramatizing of Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn. Meitner was one of the honored women in the exhibit who probably was passed over for the Nobel Prize in the favor of Hahn. The play paralleled the Meitner bay in the exhibit in that she was wrongly treated as a subordinate under Hahn and a subclass of crew in German laboratories. Near the end of the play Hahn justifies his sole award of the Nobel Prize by citing news items about Meitner. I'm not sure but one could have been from the magazine displayed in Meitner's bay! The Science and the Arts shows are acted out by Break-a-Leg players, who do minimalist staging. The show has almost no props except for a couple chairs and tables, no scenery, no apparatus, and no costumes. The actors may keep one role thruout the play or swop roles for occasional parts. They hold the printed script of the play and read directly from it. The overall effect is actually very good. Perhaps, for me, it makes the audience pay closer attention to the narration without distractions from elaborate stage effects. Home astronomy ------------ Home astronomy is the sector of our profession practiced by independent astronomers, outside the academic setting. In the 19th and 20th century they banded into clubs, with most larger American towns having at least one. Being that traditionally astronomy was handled by men, the clubs were almost entirely oriented toward men. Women had the traditional lesser regard there as in the surrounding society. A woman joining these clubs was often treated in an adolescent manner, with contrived concern and care. T This was reflected in the dialog and behavior at club functions At first it may seem that the clubs are outside the civil rights principles. They operated like private groups, which are commonly exempt from laws applying to publicly promoted services and activities. In fact clubs of home astronomers can, often without recognizing it, be embedded in federal, state, local regulations about human and civil rights. Clubs usually need a place to meet or stargaze. A prime place is a public facility such as a park pavilion, museum, library, college, planetarium. For sure these obtain part of their support from funding wrapped in human and civil rights obligations. When availing of the facility, the club insumes the obligations of that host. For legal purposes the club can be treated as an extension of the host, The host deliberately arranged for the club to use it like any other contractor. In the same way that a contractor can not engage in sexist behavior, the astronomy club can not carry out actions against females. The host can suffer miserable legal damage if the club's use of its facility is informal with no executed agreement or, worse!, it is the favor of an individual of the host acting on his own. A peculiar situation applies to clubs which are unorganized, not covered by a corporate or business charter in its home state. All liability, lawsuits, penalties, jail time, falls on the individual officers of the club! This is a little-appreciated fact for smaller clubs, who mistakenly believe they are some how exempt from such troubles. An incorporated club has the same obligations as a giant company licenced in the state. It has no alternative but to adhaere to the raft of human and civil rights laws. If the incorporated club does substantial business across state borders, like one close to a border within a metropolitan area, various federal laws may also apply. Clubs should straight off review their internal policies and procedures to specificly remove genderism, and other antisocialisms. It must publicize the correct rules to its membership, set up dispute processes, and post meaningful penalties. While these measures will not avoid a lawsuit, they can soften the court's punishment. Grand exceptions ------------- While the stereotypical American astronomy club is an male- dominated group, there are marquee exceptions. In these exceptions women members are equal to men and receive the same respect and regard as men for the same level of service. American Association of Variable Star Observers, noted under 'Payne-Gaposchkin' above, is homed in Cambridge MA, about a kilometer from Harvard College Observatory. It nonce was homed at the Observatory and most of its early crew came from there. Variable star study was the domain of the women at Harvard, making for a female-oriented membership. OF course, any one could join from any where, but the management was dominated by women. It still is today altho it has its own headquarters away from the college. It still has a close cooperation with the newer Center for Astrophysics at Harvard. And its annual meetings, in or near Cambridge, are run by its own women and many from that Center. The other major exception are some astronomy clubs around New York City, Yes, there are male-oriented clubs there but they can not control the female astronomer. She simply ups and allies with one of the more progressive clubs across the road. One example is NYSkies Astronomy Inc on Manhattan. It is immersed in a climate of tolerance for all peoples and enjoys an high order of demographic diversity. Females enter astronomy thru NYSkies 'off the street' as an extension of their wiseliness about the City. An other example is Amateur Observers Society on Long Island. The Island is a crazy-quilt of social norms. Some 'cells' enjoy a thoroly urbane and humane mindset. Others are frozen in mediaeval attitudes. The cells are numerous and small enough to easily cross over to more favorable ones. The club gets its females from the propitious cells. Paperless future -------------- This exhibit, and almost all other historical exhibitions, are crucially dependent on the existence of hard evidence. Else there's nothing to display! Until the 1960s it was a given that you had to carefully document your work thru paper products: reports, worksheets, notebooks, tabulations, graphs, photographs, and the like. These were preserved at the host facility for its records and to defend against challenges. When an exhibit was planned, the host could lend it some of the physical material. This was the case for 'Extraordinary women' where libraries, universities, laboratories supplied items for display. During the walk-alongs the curators expressed, and so did the visitors, the dread that within a few decades there will be no more permanent artifacts for future shows! Just about all science today, even this here summary of the Grolier show!, is done in evanescent electronic form. Can you foresee a show where in the place of a lab worksheet we display a microchip? The caption claims the datafile backing up the person's work is in this chip. You can make printouts of select items, but these will be on modern paper in modern ink, not a relic from the time of the honored person. In fact, in one bay, I forget which, the curator pointed out that Grolier could not find a certain book desired for the exhibit. By good luck a digital scan was done years ago into a PDF file. That was in the display bay! It was so awfully out of time and place. A corollary problem is that electronic media change on timescales of decades or YEARS. Files stored in media more than 15 or so years old may no longer have players to extract their contents! If you got files on the older 130mm floppy discs, can you now find a disc drive to play it? Most new computers do not have a floppy drive and external USB external drives are hard to find. The same story applies to laser discs, 35mm photo transparencies, audio wire recordings, punch cards, This is a severe problem for long-life operations. NASA has warehouses full of tapes and cards and discs from the early years of the space program. They were written and played on computers that are simply no longer made or serviced. Just about all of the players were junked, for replacements that can not handle the old media. In my own case, my first home computer used audio cassette tapes for file storage. The digital bytes were converted in the computer to a screeching noise piped to a cassette deck attached by audio cable. Not only do I no longer work this machine but cassette players are gone from stores. I likely will never retrieve the material written into the old cassettes. The fear is real. Looking back ---------- For women less than 40 years old the stories of discrimination and margining may seem weird. While such activity persists it is orders less severe than what their older female associates went thru. Reconstructions, like the Grolier show, go a long way to educate current women, but they can seem biased and prejudiced. How can we illustrate, live and, sometimes, in living color, what times were like decades ago? I see one killer method. One is the emergence of nostalgic or vintage television programming. In New York this is 'Antenna TV', now on channel 11-2. These stations are scattered across the country under various local names and channels. They broadcast shows from the mid to late 20th century! The permissions were duly obtained from the authors and producers. Perhaps the best specimina of bygone treatment of women are in the 'family' serials. The household is paternal to the core, with the women in subordinate roles. Watching how women in these shows fared can be a real eye-opener for the young women of today! They may take deep offense at the language, gestures, attitude, largely contrary to feminist interests. One way to tell these shows are nostalgic is to watch the ads. They promote services and products for elder and senior audience! Even here, many push homemaking devices catering to women. In some shows the original ads are left in place, probably too hard to remove?. Many of these ads feature products presented in a openly sexist manner. Recordings of these TV shows can be a jumpoff to explain and explore the world of degraded women. An other look-back method is old magazines and newspapers for stories and ads relating to women. This method requires access to such material, likely in a library archive. The publications may be on microfiche or microfilm rather than in hard copy. More and more early print material is now archived in webs where the articles can be saved or printed. I do warn that some of the material can be, by today's women standards, disgusting and revolting. Yet it was the cotidian litterature of its era. Tracing a theme -------------- 'Extraordinary women' had a once-in-lifetime spinoff. In its one room you could trace many threads in the advance of science and maths by studying selected bays. For the NYSkies Seminar on 2013 November 15, discussing the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, the astronomers drew on duChatelet for light, heat, radiation; Meitner for nuclear reactions; Payne-Gaposchkin for the predominance of hydrogen and helium in stars. The bays aren't ordered by time but by broad subject: physics, chemistry, maths, astronomy, medicine. It was feasible to trace these subjects thru the honored women, filling gaps in time or activity along the way. Curie, both Marie and Irene, knew that artificial elements can be made by neutron beaming of certain atoms but they didn't understand why this happened. Meitner, in the adjacent bay, showed that the atoms split into these other elements. She coined the term 'fission' to describe the process. Science and maths are interconnected across disciplines in historical times as now. You had to skip around the exhibit bays to follow a theme. Nelma Garcia ------- -- In 1975 I had the blessing to meet a young women Nelma Garcia on an astronomy tourist trip. I was then, with the late Donald Trombino, among the first tier of astronomers to operate public tours for eclipses and observatory visits. Ms Garcia was one of about thirty on the trip under our care. She then lived in northern New Jersey. After the trip Ms Garcia came to astronomy club meetings on Manhattan. She became active in the astronomy clubs and worked on several committees for them. Nelma was already a scholarly woman, traveling for learning and enlightenment. She showed keen interest and strong ability in many worldly matters. These included civic affairs, astronomy and science, languages, culture, art & music. Her profession then was an executive secretary at Grolier Club. She often greeted her new astronomy friends there. From her Grolier Club work she developed a profound love of books, litterature, and history, which she abundantly shared with me. In the cradle years of the feminism, she voiced annoyance and anger at the treatment of women, including instances for herself. She placed into me the seeds that such a world against females is terribly wrong. She hoped that in our lifetime we can move toward parity of men and women. By 1977 she and I bounded into a lifelong love. She moved to Chicago in about 1979, taking her second career at Adler Planetarium. The planetarium was deeply impressed by her skills and interest in astronomy, as developed thru her tenure with New York astronomers. She left Adler in about 1990 and circulated thru several residences in the Chicago and other midwest regions. This 'Extraordinary women' exhibit at Grolier Club pushed me to let Nelma know about it. By asking ancient friends, I discovered she recently moved back to northern New Jersey! I sent her the exhibit book and some fliers. Ms Garcia was not in the planning, assembling, staging of 'Extraordinary women' and its collateral events. Yet this show was her show in the very tangible sense. As I inspected the exhibit and attended its associated activities there was, like a water-mark, her name every where. This show validated her life, and my life with her, for shifting the world toward a more equable treatment of women. We aren't yet at that ideal goal, the goal so much a part of Nelma's vision. Conclusion -------- The Grolier exhibit is now closed with as yet no positive assurance of preservation. It was a meterstone show that only a generation ago could not be favorably fielded. It's main purpose was to portray and document women over the ages who made society-shifting progress under miserable circumstances of antifeminism. You really needed both the viewing of the displays and reading the companion book. Together they round out the stories of the 32 women honored in the exhibit. If the exhibit is captured, such as in a DVD or permanent website, young females considering to enter the STEM and can learn that their current struggle isn't as terribly chancy as their predecessors's. They can also learn there is much more to accomplish by them to bring a thoro removal of artificial genderism. Collateral benefits of the show are source materials for lessons in the several disciplines. At the NYSkies Seminar on November 15 the audience learned about the Harvard women's work with the Hertzsprung Russell Diagram. It was reminded of duChatelet and Payne-Gaposchkin in the exhibit. Similar lessons can be exercised at meetings of other groups, like a chemistry club or maths club. Some of the honored women were 'standard' fare for talks and shows about female scientists, like Curie and Hopper. Others are imperfectly appreciated even by seasoned scientists like duChatelet and Cunitia. It can be argued that the very women in the exhibit weren't absolutely necessary for human progress. Their work would have been accomplished within years or decades by 'real' scientists, the men. This is trvialization and marginalization, a hideous practice that is sometimes not recognized in early stages. The greatest lesson that it is plain crudelity to arbitrarily shut out sectors of people. The society that welcomes the whole spectrum of humanity into it is the society that excels in progress and prosperity. Capriciously inhibiting its people corrodes the society into stagnation and decline.