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A Singularly Unfeminine Profession

One Woman's Journey in Physics

Mary K Gaillard

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Sachbuch / Biographien, Autobiographien


In 1981 Mary K Gaillard became the first woman on the physics faculty at the University of California at Berkeley. Her career as a theoretical physicist spanned the period from the inception — in the late 1960s and early 1970s — of what is now known as the Standard Model of particle physics and its experimental confirmation, culminating with the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012. A Singularly Unfeminine Profession recounts Gaillard's experiences as a woman in a very male-dominated field, while tracing the development of the Standard Model as she witnessed it and participated in it. The generally nurturing environment of her childhood and college years, as well as experiences as an undergraduate in particle physics laboratories and as a graduate student at Columbia University — which cemented her passion for particle physics — left her unprepared for the difficulties that she confronted as a second year graduate student in Paris, and later at CERN, another particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The development of the Standard Model, as well as attempts to go beyond it and aspects of early universe physics, are described through the lens of Gaillard's own work, in a language written for a lay audience.Contents:PrefaceBeginningsHollins and Paris: To Paris and BackBrookhaven and ColumbiaParis Again: The Worst YearCERNFermilab: Charm, The Delta I=½ Rule, Search for CharmCERN Again: Two Weeks in the Soviet Union, The Higgs Particle, Gluon Jets, Bottom Quarks, Penguins and GUTsUnrest: Annecy: SupergutsReturningMy Survival MechanismAfterlife: Physics at a Trillion Electron Volts, Physics at the Planck EnergyReflectionsAcronymsGlossary Readership: Students interested in women's issues and/or particle physics, professionals interested in women's issues and/or the history of the development of the Standard Model, general public interested in women's issues and/or particle physics. Key Features:Professor Gaillard is a leading particle theorist who has participated in many important contributions to the development of the Standard Model, including the prediction of the quark mass and of gluon jets. She is a recipient of the E O Lawrence Award and the J J Sakurai prize. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical SocietyAs a woman in physics at a time when there were very few, her account of the history of the Standard Model offers a unique perspective on both the physics and the issue of gender bias in a very male-dominated fieldThe history of the development of the Standard Model, as well as attempts to understand deeper physics underlying that model and concomitant developments in cosmology, is described in conjunction with her own research and life experiences