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Monday minute (Friday edition)

October 22, 2010

Some quick announcements today — and we’ll be back on Monday with 51 Women in Planetary Science articles featuring Darby Dyar, Ghislaine Crozaz, and Faith Vilas throughout the week, as well as a summation of activities at the AAS DPS meeting brought to you by Kelsi. 

1. The USA Science and Engineering Festival is finally here!  And by “here,” I mean in over FIFTY CITIES this weekend.  If you’re in Washington, D.C., head on down to the National Mall for more than 1500 fun, hands-on activities and over 75 stage shows for all ages.  Free, no registration required.  10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. October 23 & 24.

2.  Other D.C. science fun this weekend includes safe trick-or-treating and spooky science experiments at Udvar-Hazy on Saturday, 23 October 2010, and the Maryland Science Center member night on Sunday, 24 October 2010, which encourages members to arrive in “science themed costumes.”  Science themed costumes?  That is full of the awesome.

3. And a totally random but interesting blog post of the week from Mayim Bialik, who you’ve probably seen on TV on the Big Bang Theory (or, okay, Blossom).  Not usually the type of fare we link up here, but this line caught my eye as she was discussing pumping on the job recently:

I earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA just before I got pregnant with our second son. But my husband and I decided that a lifestyle of me being a research professor would not allow us to parent the way we wanted to.

What kind of a world do we live in, where Ph.D.s in neuroscience feel that they can’t go into research because they can’t devote full-time-plus to their work for their entire 40-year career?

I know that this is a hot-button issue, particularly for so many of us who have sacrificed career advancement, family, or life goals, redefining success along the way to “having it all.”  It’s just fascinating to me that prospective work-life balance issues can openly drive someone with a Ph.D. in neuroscience back to acting.

Have a great weekend – thanks for listening!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2010 9:57 pm

    Your statement about Mayim Bialik’s educated, conscious choice to return to acting is actually fascinating to me.
    “It’s just fascinating to me that prospective work-life balance issues can openly drive someone with a Ph.D. in neuroscience back to acting.”

    Mayim Bialik has clearly made a very conscious decision to be a specific type of parent (a holistic parent), and she obviously made a career decision that she felt was best for her and her family. There is no more value to be had in the field of neuroscience than there is in acting, and I would support any mother’s quest to make her own best decisions.

    So why would it matter what she chooses to do? I find it admirable that she has so many different choices that she has created for herself, and that she can work outside of the home at all while being a holistic parent. The best thing all mothers can do is support each other’s choices-regardless of what they are or what career we choose.

    Kudos to Mayim Bialik for being an authentic, strong, intelligent woman and mother-neuroscientist, actor, or restaurant server-it doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t to you.

    • November 4, 2010 1:21 pm

      Oh, Lisa, I’m glad you commented, because this isn’t at all what I intended to convey.

      I DO NOT JUDGE another mother’s choice. I WILL NOT. In fact, if pressed, I’d have to say that I think that her individual choice was very smart, given her priorities. She is living her dream as she defines it, and that’s just all kinds of awesome.

      What I have a problem with is the system. Research careers in the U.S. typically demand 50-70 hours a week these days, and it’s true that they are often incompatible with being at home a significant (defined in whatever way works for you) portion of the workweek.

      In my opinion, needing a little increased flexibility for a few years shouldn’t be a career killer.

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