Careers for younger scientists have been a hot topic this year, with spirited discussions on the internet and in small groups around the country, a careers forum in Canberra, and the establishment of a new group, the Next Generation of Australian Scientists Society.
Then the report on bias against women in the awarding of fellowships hit the news.
This issue of WISENET Journal includes several articles on these issues. Sue Stocklmayer’s report on the Careers Forum starts on page 2. A review of the peer review study starts on page 3.
One begins to wonder whether our encouragement for young people, particularly girls and women, to study science is leading them astray. Is the future that bad for a science-trained person? Nancy Longnecker’s personal reflections, beginning on page 5, give much food for thought.
As Nancy points out, it’s important for young people to be aware that studies in science can lead to many careers, not just research.
If you are focused only on the idea of academic research, you are likely to be disappointed. But if you look at a wider range of choices, science studies can give you a solid set of skills and knowledge to carry into many careers. Melita Stevens makes this point strongly in her letter titled "There’s a woman in the works" on page 16.
In my own case, with a Master of Science degree in Plant Ecology, I spent many years as a scientific editor (and loved it) before moving into the computer industry.
The emphasis on careers should not cause us to overlook the fascinating article "Headlines, songlines and timelines" by Dr Lesley Head, about her and others’ work on the Aboriginal site at Jinmium. Most readers of this journal will be aware of the media controversy at the time of the announcement of this work. This more personal view (presented also at WISENET’s AGM in April) put a different perspective on the research for me.
Rounding off this issue are the reports to the AGM, our usual collection of news and notes, profiles of women scientists, and excerpts from FASTS circulars. We hope you find it an informative and entertaining issue.
—Jean Hollis Weber
See WISENET Journal Report to AGM.
It is time for a new group, preferably not in Sydney, to take over compilation and production of the Journal — for an issue or two if not indefinitely.
Contact any member of the link team to discuss details.