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Uncle Jesse and the seven “early career” ladies of the night

Cohen, Judith and Kayser, Susan and Peterson, A. Victoria and Sargent, Anneila and Trimble, Virginia and Weistrop, Donna (2019) Uncle Jesse and the seven “early career” ladies of the night. American Journal of Physics, 87 (10). pp. 778-783. ISSN 0002-9505. doi:10.1119/1.5122880.

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Jesse Leonard Greenstein (1909–2002) was apparently a very hard sell when it came to women in astronomy. Early in his autobiography, he wrote of “Miss Payne, a person of wide culture and astronomical knowledge. The obvious discrimination against her as a woman scientist, worthy of normal academic recognition, exacerbated the stressful life she led. She was unhappy, emotional, in a rivalry with Menzel and Plaskett.” She (a.k.a. Cecilia Helena Payne, later Gaposchkin) is the only woman with an explicit mention in that memoir, and Greenstein's impression of her left him uncertain whether women belonged in astronomy. In addition, some of us remember him as saying there was no use in educating women through to a Ph.D. because they only get married and quit.

Item Type:Article
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Cohen, Judith0000-0002-8039-4673
Sargent, Anneila0000-0002-4633-5098
Additional Information:© 2019 American Association of Physics Teachers. (Received 31 July 2019; accepted 31 July 2019) The authors remain, of course, deeply grateful, though this side idolatry, to our advisors, who were undertaking tasks new to them. They were Peter Goldreich, Guido Munch, Maarten Schmidt, the late Halton C. (Chip) Arp, Armin Deutsch, Jesse Greenstein, Robert P. Kraft, J. Beverly Oke, Eugene Shoemaker, and Harold Zirin (who attempted to make up for the loss of SWK to geosciences by coaching VT through the second round of the qualifying exam that she had failed the first time). An extra “thank you” goes to Munch, whose oral history with the American Institute of Physics provided the names of the three University of Chicago women astronomy Ph.D. degrees who did get married and, at least by JLG's standards, dropped out.
Group:Astronomy Department
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190918-100141595
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98715
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 Sep 2019 17:15
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:41

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