“ it was a pleasure to see a large fraction of women (about 30%) among the organizers and the participants of this workshop, translating in a high-level standard and impact of women in the AGN research field.”

Focal Week on Women in Physics 17 Suggestions

From a 1995 AAPT talk by Elizabeth Simmons

Recommendations Accomplished Within One Year

1. The ACP summer and winter programs should be more widely advertised. A. Cohen created Web pages for the Center and posted an announcement of the ACP conferences on the LANL conference bulletin board with links to the ACP Web pages.

2. More women, including those who have never attended the ACP, should be added to the ACP mailing list. Freese, Kallin and Simmons compiled a list of over 100 women. S. Mencimer added them to the mailing list.

3. The memo to organizers of ACP workshops should emphasize the need to include women, junior physicists and minorities. This was done. In addition, Mencimer spoke with the organizers in person to discuss this issue and reported that they were aware of it.

4. The literature sent to applicants should make it clear that daycare is plentiful in Aspen. A paragraph to this effect was inserted in the pre–application materials and the post–acceptance form.

5. A folder on Daycare/Babysitting should be maintained in Hilbert so that participants can share their experiences of various daycare centers. The folder exists and is being used.

6. An admissions policy on two-physicist couples should be established. This was done – couples were allowed to identify themselves as such on the application form and to indicate whether they wished to be considered for admission independently, jointly, or jointly and sharing a desk. As a member of the admissions committee, I can attest that this was easy to implement and quite useful. We simply went through the list of self–identified couples at the end of the admissions process to make sure that their admissions status accorded with their preferences. This involved moving a few peoples' admit times to let 'joint' couples overlap – and admitting a couple 'partners' (one male, one female) who had been willing to share a desk and had not yet been admitted due to crowding. The last is particularly important since if it had not been done, the couples would not have attended ‐ meaning two fewer women. This is a policy that affects both male and female physicists, but since a much larger percentage of the women physicists are in two–physicist couples, it can have a large effect on the number of women participants.

Recommendations Accomplished That Needed Continued Reinforcement

7. There should be more women General Members and Trustees. There should be women on the admissions committee each year. There should be more women among the organizers of the summer workshops and winter conferences.} The numbers of women in all of these roles was significantly increased in 1994–95. This clearly needs yearly reinforcement – something to keep in mind as the election of new General Members and the selection of the 1996 workshops approach.

8. A list of daycare centers should be sent to all applicants with children. Such a list was sent to those applicants who requested it. This information is now being made available (by Cohen) on the ACP Web Page to make it easier to access. The list will need to be updated yearly.

9. One or two physicists who've been to Aspen before (including, but not limited to General Members) should be on call each Monday to assist and welcome first–time participants as they arrive. This was advertised in the literature sent to participants and was initiated this week. On Monday, those on call post a note with their names and office numbers on the bin containing the information folders for new arrivals. J. Berlinsky and I are taking care of this week and next week; the rest of the summer needs to be covered. Volunteers can talk to me after the meeting.

Recommendations Not Accomplished The First Year

10. One organizer of each workshop should be self–designated in the proposal as taking responsibility for significant participation by women/minority/younger physicists. This was not done for the 1995 workshops. There is time to implement it for the 1996 workshops.

11. Workshop organizers should receive the full applications rather than just the names of those interested in their workshops. This will help junior people and those outside the loop. Those submitting paper applications can send two copies. This was not done for 1995, but could be tried for 1996 on an experimental basis. The transition to handling admissions from the Center has been made and this new wrinkle might now be easier to accommodate.

Small but Significant Wording Changes in the Literature sent to Applicants

The first group pertains to the continuing efforts to implement the recommendations made by the Focal Week on Women in Physics. These suggestions are the product of some conversations with Catherine Kallin.

12. In the question about two–physicist couples on the application form, the word “companion” was used. The admissions committee observed that a few people found this ambiguous and filled out this part of the form when they meant to indicate that they were part of a working group. It is suggested that the phrase “spouse or companion” be substituted for “companion” to clarify matters.

13. The current paragraph about daycare in Aspen says that information will be available through the Center and/or will be mailed to participants. If this information is to be available on the Web instead (entailing far less work for the ACP staff), the daycare paragraph should be changed to reflect this.

14. To help those with children under two years of age find childcare at reasonable cost or arrange cooperative babysitting, the following questions were added to the form sent to those admitted: “Would anyone in your family be available to babysit ? Will you need a babysitter while in Aspen?” The names of those answering 'yes' were to have been made available to all those planning to attend the 1995 summer programs. This was done but few answered. The questions may have been ambiguous. It is suggested that the following questions be substituted and the names/email addresses of those answering 'yes' be posted on the Daycare Web page so that those interested can contact them: “Will anyone in your family be interested in doing paid babysitting for children of other ACP participants? Are you interested in arranging cooperative babysitting with other ACP participants who have children under two years of age?” If this is done, the paragraph on daycare in the admissions literature should be changed accordingly.


This second group of suggestions arises from my experience on the admissions committee for 1995 and from some subsequent conversations with Jeff Harvey. One of the workshops for 1995 had 91 applicants, which made the admissions process more difficult.

15. Perhaps on future application forms, there could be two questions “name the workshop you plan to actively participate in” and “name the workshop(s) whose talks you might attend.” Workshop affiliation would be decided on the basis of the first question. This might help make the statement on the application form that 'workshop affiliation does not affect the admissions process' more accurate.

16. Perhaps organizers could be encouraged to rank more than the first 12 (automatic admit) plus 20 (preferred). This would give additional guidance to the admissions committee, none of whom might be experts in the particular area of the workshop.

17. The note suggesting that junior applicants have someone more senior send a letter of support to the admissions committee could be moved to a more prominent position (e.g. to just below the 'list three papers' statement) and/or worded more strongly.