Skip to main site content.
Dr. Katherine Mack (Twitter)

Simple math

Astrophysicist Katherine J. Mack laments ‘structural biases’ that influence Nobel Prize committee

October 4, 2016

Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for pioneering research into exotic matter that may help in the creation of quantum computers and superconductors. Ahead of the announcement, however, some scientists were questioning why it was that only two female scientists had ever won the Nobel Prize in physics.

Dr. Katherine J. Mack — the astrophysicist who made headlines after shutting down a Twitter troll who tried to mansplain climate change to her — said that while the number of women obtaining a Ph.D. in physics used to be just above one percent in the 1960s, women now earned 20 percent of those degrees. That only one woman had won the Nobel Prize in Physics since 1963, she said, is a reflection of “structural biases” plaguing society and academia, she clarified in a tweet to Women in the World.

An informal poll of prominent physicists, science journalists, and scientific society representatives taken last year identified a number of women that specialists in the field thought merited a Nobel Prize in Physics. Whatever the reason is for the dearth of female winners of the prize, the number of potential candidates does not appear to be the problem.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.


South African teen’s science fair entry may help solve country’s drought

From 1973 to 2012, only 66 African-American women earned a physics Ph.D

“Zombie star” researcher Victoria Kaspi finds motivation in the mysteries of the universe