August 2013

3rd Women in Physics Canada Conference


I was so excited to participate in the 3rd Women in Science Conference held at Simon Fraser University. I posted more about it on It was a great event and the women at Simon Fraser University who organized it did an amazing job. The quality of talks and panels was just outstanding. I also was so happy to see many very talented graduate students. And having more than 70 women physicists and physics educators in one place is cool. However here I would like just point out that I had a special reason to be proud. I was part of a panel of participants who spoke about merging family and work for women (and men) in science. I was honoured to be invited to be a member of this panel as I realized how much it meant to me. Although as in any family life you have your ups and down and its challenges, I realized how much I gained from being married to a physicist. Having a partner who you can discuss your ideas with is a very special opportunity. It is also great to have a partner who believes in you and in your success. Next term Valery will be teaching his first year physics course using the textbook I co-written with wonderful colleagues.

I realize that having a dual career family is a big challenge, but if I had to start again, I would not have change it for anything (even though we did have some tough time as a 3200 km commute). I hope that the environment in academia will change and the academia will be more open to hire couples, as by hiring two talented people they gain a lot. We live on UBC campus and we are immersed in the university life, our research and our family is our life (which might not so good for us, but it is not bad for UBC). As two people who share a similar background, we discuss our projects, ideas, share successes that can only be shared by people who share their career paths. We also do a lot to promote our university and put it on the world map not just by doing research but also by showing other people that out university does care about the well being of the faculty. So why not to hire both – in case people have dual career families and both have qualifications needed by university? Doesn’t the university win when faculty members are happy?

Now I am wondering, will it ever happen when Valery will be invited to a panel at the Men in Physics conference that deals with dual career family issues? Who knows?

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