After the War: Women in Physics in the United States

After the War: Women in Physics in the United States

Ruth Howes, Caroline Herzenberg
ISBN: 9781681740300 | PDF ISBN: 9781681740942
Copyright © 2016 | 124 Pages | Publication Date: December 27, 2015

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This book is about women in physics in America in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Physics has always been a male-dominated field that has posed challenges for women working in the profession. This was especially true in the United States after World War II when the U.S. government sought to make more job openings available for war veterans by undertaking a publicity campaign that encouraged women who had entered the workplace during the war to leave their jobs and return to their homes to care for their husbands and families.

But a number of remarkable women managed to continue working by developing and using a wide variety of strategies to maintain their careers in the diverse environments that supported physics research. In this new book, we tell many of their stories and demonstrate the strategies they used to survive as physicists...strategies which are still applicable today.

Their stories range from Nobel Laureates who engaged in outstanding scientific research to women who were instrumental in developing physics education in the United States. They worked in the new National Laboratories, the rapidly growing research universities, smaller colleges (including particularly women's colleges), new industries, astrophysics and the birth of space science and NASA, and led the new area of health physics.

The book is aimed first at younger women who may be interested in becoming physicists, particularly high school students, undergraduates and junior employees in their first jobs after completing their degrees. It will also be of interest to more senior women and senior male physicists who wish to develop a friendly climate for women in their research groups or departments. In addition, it will be of special interest to professionals in the study of women scientists and the history of science.

Table of Contents

1. The Setting for Women in Physics After World War II
2. Women Physicists Working in the National Laboratories
3. Women Physicists in Research Universities
4. Women Physicists in Industry
5. Women Physicists in the Women's Colleges
6. Women in Astrophysics and Early NASA Space Science
7. Other Women Physicists
8. Epilogue: Some Final Thoughts


About the Author(s)

Ruth Howes, Professor Emerita, Ball State University
Ruth Howes is Professor Emerita of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico after retiring as chair of the Physics Department at Marquette University in 2008. She is a nuclear physicist who has a primary interest in improving undergraduate education in physics. She is the co-author of Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project and has an on-going interest in the history of women physicists.

Caroline Herzenberg, Argonne National Laboratory
Caroline Herzenberg is a physicist who has achieved recognition for her activities relating to women in science as well as for her scientific work. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago where she worked under the guidance of Dr. Samuel K. Allison. She has taught on the faculties of several universities and was a senior scientist on the staff of IIT Research Institute and worked as a physicist on the staff of Argonne National Laboratory.

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