Women in Anthropology

Women in Chemistry

Women in Engineering

Women in Environmental Sciences

Women in Information Technology

Women in Medicine

Women in Physics

Women in Space Exploration

Women Inventors



By Andrew Morkes and Shaina Indovino

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Copyright © 2022 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4499-9

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WORDS TO UNDERSTAND: These words, with their easy-to-understand definitions, will increase readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. SIDEBARS: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. TEXT-DEPENDENT QUESTIONS: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. RESEARCH PROJECTS: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Introduction 6 Chapter 1: Careers in Physics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Sau Lan Wu: Accelerating Particles 27 Chapter 2: Terms of the Trade 32 Lisa Randall: Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries 39 Chapter 3: Educational Training and Salaries 42 Lise Meitner: Discovering Nuclear Fission 54 Chapter 4: Exploring Careers in Physics 58 Chien-Shiung Wu: Understanding the Atom 72 Chapter 5: The Future of Physics and Careers 78 Shirley Ann Jackson: Presidential Advisor 86 Further Reading and Internet Resources 90 Educational Video Links 91 Index 92 Photo Credits 95 Author and Consultant Biographies 96 Key Icons to Look For


Have you wondered how the natural world works? Are you curious how science could help sick people get better? Do you want to learn more about our planet and universe? Are you excited to use technology to learn and share ideas? Do you want to build something new? Scientists, engineers, and doctors are among the many types of people who think deeply about science and nature, and who often have new ideas on how to improve life in our world.


An atom

We live in a remarkable time in human history. The level of understanding and rate of progress in science and technology have never been greater. Major advances in these areas include the following: • Computer scientists and engineers are building mobile and internet technology to help people access and share information at incredible speeds.



Physicists study everything from atoms to the celestial bodies that make up the Milky Way.



• Biologists and chemists are creating medicines that can target and get rid of harmful cancer cells in the body. • Engineers are guiding robots on Mars to explore the history of water on that planet. • Physicists are using math and experiments to estimate the age of the universe to be greater than 13 billion years. • Scientists and engineers are building hybrid cars that can be better for our environment. Scientists are interested in discovering and understanding key principles in nature, including biological, chemical, mathematical, and physical aspects of our world. They observe, measure, and experiment in a systematic way in order to test and improve their understanding. Engineers focus on applying scientific knowledge and math to find creative solutions for technical problems and to develop real products for people to use. There are many types of engineering, including computer, electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, and biomedical engineering. Some people have also found that studying science or engineering can help them succeed in other professions such as law, business, and medicine. Both women and men can be successful in science and engineering. This series provides information on education and careers in a variety of science fields. It also highlights women leaders who have made significant contributions across many scientific fields, including chemistry, medicine, anthropology, engineering, and physics. Historically, women have faced barriers to training and building careers in science, which makes some of these stories even more amazing. While not all barriers have been overcome, our society has made tremendous progress in educating and advancing women in science. Today there are schools, organizations, and resources that help women to pursue careers as scientists or engineers at the highest levels of achievement and leadership. The goals of this series are to help you with the following: 1. Learn about women scientists, engineers, doctors, and inventors who have made a major impact in science and our society



2. Understand different types of science and engineering and key terms in these fields 3. Learn more about the variety of educational paths one can pursue to enter these careers 4. Explore science and math in school and real life 5. Learn about the employment outlook in science and engineering specialties You can do a lot of things to learn more about science, math, and engineering. Explore topics in books or online, take a class at school, go to science camp, or do experiments at home. More important, talk to a real scientist, doctor, or engineer! Call or email your local college to find students and professors. They would love to meet with you. Ask your doctors about their education and training. Or you can check out these helpful resources: • NOVA has very cool videos about science, including profiles on real-life women scientists and engineers: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova • National Geographic has excellent photos and stories to inspire people to care about the planet: www.nationalgeographic.com/science Here are examples of online courses for students, of which many are free: 1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare for high school: https://ocw.mit.edu/high-school 2. Khan Academy tutorials and courses: www.khanacademy.org 3. Stanford University Online High School: https://onlinehighschool.stanford.edu Other skills will become important as you get older. Build strong communication skills by asking questions and sharing your ideas in class. Ask for advice or help when needed from your teachers, mentors, tutors, or classmates. Be curious and resilient: Learn from your successes and mistakes. The best scientists and engineers do.



Learning science and math is one of the most important things that you can do in school. Knowledge and experience in these areas will teach you how to think and how the world works, and they can provide you with many adventures and paths in life. I hope you will explore science, engineering, and medicine—you could make a difference in this world. Ann Lee-Karlon, PhD Past President, Association for Women in Science

There are many great opportunities for women in physics.




Words to Understand grants: money given by government agencies or private organizations to help people advance in their careers; a grant does not have to be paid back mentor: a person who guides and gives advice to a less experienced person persistent: unwilling to give up

theories: plausible or scientifically acceptable general principles; explanations for facts or phenomena, especially when based on duplicated scientific tests with consistent results, or is widely accepted


THE WORLD OF PHYSICS When you throw a ball across the room, how does it move? It might go straight across the room at first, but then curve down. When it reaches a wall, it will bounce off. Eventually, it will stop moving and sit still. The laws of physics can explain every movement this ball makes. Physicists study these laws to try to figure out what causes these movements. As the ball flies across the room, different forces act upon it. One force is gravity—the invisible force that pulls all objects on Earth toward the center of the Earth. It is what keeps you on the ground and pulls you back down after you jump up. Another force is the one you are applying as you toss the ball. Finally, air resistance plays a role. Even though air might seem transparent or invisible, it is actually made up of tiny particles. Think of the way you swim through a pool. As you push your arms and legs, the water works against you. Air resistance is just like that, except it is easier to move through air than water. Physicists apply their understanding of all these forces while studying how objects move and why. The smallest of these objects are subatomic particles. These particles are the smallest unit known to humans, and they cannot be seen with the naked eye. The largest objects a physicist might study are planets, galaxies, or even the entire universe. In this way, physicists study everything that could ever possibly exist. Physicists are always trying to find out more about how the world works and why. Physics can be applied to anything you do. Whether you are writing on a piece of paper, swimming in the ocean, or watching the moon in the sky, physics has allowed all these things to happen. As you go about your daily routine, pay special attention to what you do. Feel your feet push against the ground as you walk. Notice how the sun’s rays seem to warm your skin. Watch your chest rise and fall as you breathe in and out. All of this is caused by physics! Many physicists become fascinated with the world when they are young. They continually ask questions: Why are there stars in the sky? What causes the earth to revolve around the sun? How do birds and airplanes fly? Physics offers answers to all of these questions and more. And even with all of these answers, there are WOMEN IN PHYSICS


Workers at Fermilab National Laboratory assemble a new pixel detector that helps track the trajectory, energy, and momentum of atomic particles.

still so many discoveries to be made. To make matters even more confusing, some theories in physics conflict with other theories. They are so different, in fact, that they cannot both be true. There are many debates about how the physical world works. Above all else, physicists are always trying to explain to the world why it is the way it is. CAREER PATHS IN PHYSICS Physicists play an important role in the fields of science and engineering in the twenty-first century. Demand is high, and so are salaries. They earn an average of about $121,000 a year, and experienced physicists earn higher salaries. If you decide you want to be a physicist, your three main options for a job are: teaching at a university, working for the government, and working for a company. What your role will be in each of these situations will vary by what you know.



That’s because there are many different types of physicists, which are described in the following paragraphs. • Particle physicists deal with atoms and what they are made of. • Astrophysicists study stars, planets, and other celestial bodies and the rules that govern their movement. Astrophysics is a subfield of astronomy, but today, the names “astrophysics” and “astronomy” are often used interchangeably. • Theoretical physicists use math to solve problems based on things we cannot prove yet. • Atomic, optical, and molecular physicists study atoms, electrons, simple molecules, and light, as well as the interactions between them. • Condensed matter and materials physicists investigate the physical properties of matter in molecules, nanostructures, or novel compounds. They study things such as sensors, nanomachines, and superconductivity.

A career in physics allows you to work with both your mind and your hands.


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