April 2011

2011 International Conference For Women in Physics

As I wrote earlier, I feel very fortunate to be invited to be part of the Canadian Delegation at the 4h International Conference on Women in Physics organized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. I decided to post very brief reports on the conference starting from the day I left Vancouver. I do it, so I remember what happened and I can share it with my students, colleagues and friends.

Saturday-Sunday April 2-3, 2011: I left Vancouver on Saturday evening with direct flight to London, Heathrow. The flight was about 8 hours long, yet it was delayed, so we only arrived at 12:30 pm the next day. I couldn’t fall asleep in the plane, so I am a little bit tired now. However, having Maple Leaf access makes a huge difference (thanks to a friend – Mary Mogge who taught me how to travel wisely). As I have to spend 5 hours in waiting for my flight to Cape Town, I have a chance to walk around and to think about this event and about what do I want to achieve and what I have to do to achieve it.

Growing up in the Soviet Union, I would have never thought that I would ever have an opportunity to attend an International Women in Physics Conference (I am sure I messed up the grammar here…) anywhere, and especially in Cape Town. Although I lived in Israel for almost 7 years, I have never been to Africa and I also have never been to the Southern hemisphere. It is interesting to plunge from Spring to Fall, from Canada to South Africa, from the world where most physicists are men to the world (or micro-world) where many are women. I am very excited about it. However, I am even more excited to meet amazing women from all over the world who pursue their passion in science. I remember recently meeting Maria Klawe¬† – a truly amazing woman who is the President of Harvey Mudd now. In her presentation, this unimaginabely successful women spoke about “being an imposter”…. and how long it took her to learn to take herself and her own contributions seriously. I am sure she is not the only one who suffers from this syndrome. Just a day before yesterday (on Friday), I attended Explorations & Education conference at the Faculty of Education at UBC. It was a one-day conference organized by the students with the support of faculty and administrators. The key-note speaker at the conference was¬† Ms. Maria LeRose who is a a Vancouver producer, host, one of the most successful Vancouver business women. Maria is also a graduate student at our Faculty. She gave an amazing speech (she is a professional public speaker). However, in my view the power of her speech was in her personality. Maria has been pursuing her passion and she always ready to learn new things and to plunge into new areas. This ability and willingness to take risk is something that I was especially inspired by. I hope to meet more amazing women at the Conference in Cape Town. When I see these women, I feel that I also have to take risks and try new things. This is something what real education should be about… I am looking for the Conference.

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