Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leaky Pipes

Several people have mentioned this NY Times article,
In ‘Geek Chic’ and Obama, New Hope for Lifting Women in Science. I have so much to say about women in science. And I am not sure how much I want to say here because I want to continue to work in science. And I need to go pick up Iris at school and take us both to the ENT's office because neither of us appear to be getting better.

I will say that I am tired of the "leaky pipeline" analogy. Raise your hand if you want to be compared to brake fluid.

Seriously, do you think human beings more resemble an Eulerian fluid or an ensemble of individual Lagrangian particles*? How might these Lagrangian entities be deflected? how might they be deflected back?

More later, when my head is not full of snot cotton.

* Air masses and traffic can be modeled as either a fluid or as an ensemble of discrete particles acting under physical/behavioral laws. As the ensemble size increases toward infinity, both formulations should agree. IMHO, we don't have enough women in science for the Eulerian formulation to be valid.


  1. I'm almost afraid to go read the article. Maybe some other night.

    I like your analogy. I've always thought that the reasons women leave science are likely to be too diverse and complicated to boil down to simple formulae. Why did I leave academia? Sure, the paucity of role models leading normal lives with families was a factor. But so was the much better paying job offer, and the lure of building a company. I've always figured the reasons women leave science were similarly multivariate.

  2. Anonymous08:45

    My favorite part in the article could be condensed into a nice T-shirt slogan (maybe for a "Women in Chemistry" group?)

    "Chemistry: not quite plush toy material."



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